All felony money laundering charges will be dismissed against Coeur d’Alene physician Stanley Toelle in exchange for a guilty plea to two misdemeanor charges that he did not report his former wife’s income as a stripper to the IRS.
“It’s pretty rare for the government to take a knee on 10 felonies,” said Toelle’s attorney, Nick Vieth. “I’m glad they were able to see that this is justice. The biggest thing he’s guilty of is marrying the wrong woman.”
Toelle’s ex-wife, Loren Toelle, pleaded guilty in January to a drug-dealing conspiracy for her role in a narcotics ring that spanned Washington, Nevada, Montana and Idaho. Toelle has long maintained that he knew nothing about it.
“The government finally conceded that Dr. Toelle did not have anything to do with her drug activity,” Vieth said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan said the case against Toelle was always about money, not drugs. “He was only ever charged with money laundering,” she said. “We never had alleged whatsoever that Dr. Toelle was dealing drugs.”
All 11 defendants in the case, including Toelle’s ex-wife, were prepared to testify that the doctor had nothing to do with drug trafficking, Vieth said. “We felt very secure in the fact that we’d be able to prove that at trial,” he said.
Whelan said it took time to review all the documents in the case.
“We took a look at all the evidence and determined that we would be willing to enter into a plea agreement,” she said. “I don’t think it’s unusual in a larger case like this to take a while.”
Toelle has given various explanations as to whether his ex-wife’s income came from stripping or a hair business, Whelan said. “What was undisputed was the fact that none of that income got reported,” she said.
As part of the plea agreement, which has not yet been approved by a judge, Toelle will pay $47,597 in back taxes for 2012 and 2013, the years when he did not report his former wife’s income. He also faces up to a year in jail, but Vieth said he doesn’t expect the judge to include jail time in his sentencing.
“I would be very surprised if he received anything,” he said. “He’s been under supervision for a year and a half. He hasn’t been able to work.”
Toelle was put on leave from his job as a gastroenterologist for Kootenai Health after his arrest.
Toelle has also made a civil forfeiture agreement that states he will forfeit $150,000 in order to keep ownership of two properties in Las Vegas, Vieth said. The government will release all seizure claims against Toelle’s lakefront home in Coeur d’Alene, his 2010 Nissan Murano and a third property in Las Vegas as part of the plea deal.
Vieth said he was glad the long struggle appears to be over.
“I’m pretty proud of him for sticking to his guns and proclaiming his innocence,” he said. “I really want him to get back to work and I’m sure his patients do, too.”
The community has been supportive of Toelle, and Vieth said he expects a crowd of supporters at Toelle’s sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled.
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