CCFC Press Release On Stephen Doyne Corruption/Fraud Case

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December 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The battle against alleged fraudulent child custody evaluator Stephen Doyne is heating up as the California Coalition for Families and Children (CCFC) is expanding its involvement in the Emad Tadros v. Stephen Doyne lawsuit (San Diego Superior Court Case 37-2008-00093885-CU-BT-CTL) involving the alleged fraud and misconduct of Doyne in a psychological evaluation in San Diego in a child custody dispute. CCFC points to Doyne’s attempts to silence its criticisms of his allegedly extortionary practices, perjury, and fraud. CCFC counsel Cole Stuart is concerned that the corruption goes far beyond Doyne himself and may extended to political contributions to the campaigns of San Diego Superior Court judges.

CCFC this month issued the following press release:

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Thousands of Children Pawns in Culture of Greed and Corruption
in California Family Courts

San Diego, CA – Revelations that the San Diego Family Court system’s highest paid psychologists, administrators and referring attorneys may be engaged in multiple levels of corruption, fraud and kick-backs has led the California Coalition for Families and Children (CCFC) to demand a full-scale investigation.

What started as a lawsuit filed by one of the state’s leading Psychiatrists – Dr. Emad Tadros, Vice Chief of Behavioral Health at Scripps Mercy Medical Center—has rapidly expanded to include law violations by judicial staff, tax evasion, and hefty “referral” bonuses between lawyers who profit from—and in many cases encourage—the conflict and misery of divorcing families.

Top custody evaluator lied on resume and received credentials from “fake” diploma mill

It was only after Dr. Tadros himself went through a family court hearing in 2006 that he began noticing a pattern questionable reasoning behind the custody recommendations of San Diego’s top family court evaluator – Dr. Stephen Doyne. Upon investigating Doyne’s background, Tadros learned he had lied on his resume when seeking court-appointed work and repeatedly misrepresented his professional certifications during client disputes. Doyne billed these clients over $300 an hour to interview thousands of children in private and make life-altering custody recommendations that often increased hostility and pitted parents against each other. According to Tadros, more conflict would lead to more cash for the lawyers and evaluators.

Tadros’ lawsuit cites two inconsistencies in Doyne’s resume:

  • Two area colleges—USD and UCSD—deny that Doyne taught psychology courses there (as his resume claims)
  • Doyne’s additional “Diplomate” credentials were obtained from a notorious fake “degree mill” that according to an investigative piece in The American Bar Association Journal, also awarded a high-level diploma to a house cat.

Referrals and Paybacks net Doyne millions

According to Coalition spokesperson Cole Stuart, Doyne prefers “high conflict” cases where the parents have lots of money but can’t agree on anything.  Doyne cashes in by taking advantage of a feuding couple, entrapping them in an endless string of additional sessions to resolve the conflict the “winner take all” environment he engenders.

Doyne often receives referrals from divorce attorneys for these cases, and according to a recent legal brief filed by the Coalition, paybacks for these referrals may include generous finder’s fees.

The Coalition estimates Doyne earns over $1,000,000 per year preying off of conflicted families – far higher than the average family court psychologist salary of $60,000 – $120,000.

A ‘cottage industry” thriving on people’s misery

Kathleen Russell, a cofounder and staff consultant at the Center for Judicial Excellence, a Marin County community-based judicial watchdog organization, says the entire California family court system has evolved into a “culture of cronyism” from which a “cottage industry” of private evaluators and mediators has grown and thrived.

In Sacramento County, the average rate for a court-ordered evaluation and report is $15,000. In Marin County, evaluators may charge as much as $60,000. “Families are being ruined emotionally and financially by this system,” says Barbara Kauffman, a family law attorney in Marin County.

Evaluators use future custody of children to extort cash payments and illegally avoid taxes

Private custody evaluators – including Doyne – are pulling out all stops to avoid paying taxes on the money they charge families in disputes. The Coalition for Families and Children are requesting to review Doyne’s tax records to prove that his noncompliance with Court reporting rules allows him to commit felony tax evasion. According to Title 5 of the California Rules of Court, every custody evaluator must file credentialing paperwork within 10 days of being hired to each case. The Coalition says that Doyne has not filed any such paperwork for at least 6 years. Coalition members in past disputes claim they were charged “up front” cash payments by Doyne and others for any hope of a favorable custody decision.

No accountability

The Superior Court of San Diego County recently admitted that it does not see itself as responsible for verifying the qualifications of each child custody evaluator it appoints. Instead, it claims that responsibility for oversight belongs to the “Public at Large”.

However, with limited regulatory oversight and virtually no avenues for members of the public to challenge important evaluator decisions such as child custody, The California Coalition for Families and Children says that an unscrupulous agent can commit negligent—even criminal—behavior without fear of accountability. In the case of Doyne, the Coalition contends that his network of referrals and relationships with judges has provided the legal and political cover for him “to remain in the shadows”.

Says Coalition spokesperson Stuart: “With layers of people making huge amounts of money off the current system – including judges and administrators – the court has little incentive to make changes.”

Stuart said that the Coalition is in process of obtaining the campaign finance records of every elected San Diego Family Court Judge to determine if Doyne and other evaluators are illegal contributors.

Thousands of Cases Could be Affected – Coalition Calls for Reform

According to the Tadros suit, Doyne was committing fraud each time he provided his “credentials” to clients, patients, colleagues, and courts. Such fraud could lead thousands of disenfranchised parents to seek legal damages against Doyne, their attorneys, and the court, and request that their disputes be reopened and Doyne’s reports tossed out.

Says Stuart: “The Coalition is asking the Legislature to immediately audit the San Diego family court system to begin reforming the way that family courts do business – including how evaluators are supervised, credentialed, and hired. Parents need to regain confidence that custody decisions are being made by certified, competent professionals whose primary motivation is the well-being of the child – not getting rich.”

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Further Reading

Custom Search

Files related to disputes involving Stephen Doyne of San Diego, California

CCFC Family Law Protest in San Diego Results in Arrest of Group Leader

CCFC Protests San Diego Family Courts on April 15, 2010

Unjust Delays in San Diego Family Law Courts

Eileen Lasher on San Diego CPS/Family Law Court Misconduct

Flyer Protest in San Diego Family Law Courts

Amicus Curiae brief filed for Emad Tadros v. Stephen Doyne

San Diego Courts Cover Up Missing Forms and Psych Evals

Stephen Doyne and San Diego Family Law Courts Under Fire

California Legislature Orders Investigation of Family Law Courts

The Politics of Divorce: When Children Become Pawns

Women who use children as pawns in custody battles

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  1. Ginny
    August 29th, 2010 at 15:31 | #1

    How does a parent get more information to the correct people to investigate another of these fraudulent evaluators? My case has the strangest recommendations by the 730 evaluator who stated Mother is a good mother and dad lacks empathy but still took kids away to leave with estranged father to “teach the kids a lesson” and Minors Counsel has lied in court with recommendations (which Minors Counsel is not even supposed to do) and in emails with facts that prove she lied. This to prevent mother from helping her kids and making this an over $300,000 custody case so far. She blind carbon copied minor on attorney emails to each other, she lied directly to mother preventing the health care of her daughter who is now looking at surgery for a problem that should have been addressed a year ago. I have evidence, but where do I take my proof???

    I am putting the details in the Union Tribune this week, and will be referring to this agency of yours if you can respond and tell me how you are helping parents prevent this curruption. I already asked the D.A. office and he said “all people lie in family court”. So can lawyers really lie with no recourse by the parties??? Pleae tell me where else I can go? I am trying to find out how to sue her for criminal lying that resulted in financial and criminal health neglect of minors.

  2. One of Thousands
    August 31st, 2010 at 20:01 | #2

    Try for resources.

  3. one of thousands
    September 19th, 2010 at 20:36 | #3

    Doyne’s legacy is disgrace. He has been exposed to have fraudulent certifications, to have lied on his resume three times, to have changed the names of institutions he claimed granted him legitimate credentials, has bilked dozens of parents out of millions of dollars at $20,000 per “evaluation” (an outrageous sum for someone with his weak, fraudulent credentials), has been sued numerous times for fraud, malpractice, lying and theft.

    These are not controvertable facts–see the evidence by searching Doyne, Channel 10, San Diego Reader, or simply review the files for yourself at https://angiemedia dot com/case-files/stephen-doyne-files/.

    At events he speaks at he regularly tells audiences that the lawsuits against him have “been dismissed.” First, it’s a lie. There are at least two ongoing lawsuits involving Doyne. That the man continues to lie about verifiable facts should speak volumes more about his integrity and professional values.

    But even more troubling is that Doyne does not tell his audience members that the only reason he is able to protect himself against these charges–which are demonstrably true-is that he is hiding behind what he calls “quasi-judicial immunity.” In other words, he’s saying “I’ve been successful in thwarting efforts to hold me accountable for my lies, fraud, and abuse of my clients and their children because even though I’m a private professional, I work in a courthouse sometimes.”

    No kidding folks–like any doctor, he works in a private practice, is not paid by courts, yet fraudulently charges tens of thousands of dollars per “evaluation” and claims he cannot be liable for liability for fraud and professional negligence that every one of his professional colleagues can be held accountable for.

    His only defense is that he can lie, cheat, and steal because he believes there are “immunity” laws which allow him to get away with it.

    Yet despite the fact that he essentially admits to dozens of extraordinarily harmful acts of bilking clients and their children–he hasn’t issued any apology, hasn’t changed his fraudulent and thieving ways, hasn’t refunded any client’s money, and most troubling repeatedly continues to make the very same misrepresentations that have been proven false numerous times.

    In other words, he’s a “free radical” criminal taking advantage of his clients, thumbing his nose at the law, and screwing over attorneys, their clients, and their children, yet getting paid millions per year. And because of the inaction of courts and complacency of attorneys who throw their clients into the cesspool of this man’s practice, he continues to earn millions under the nose of the judges and attorneys we’ve entrusted with the responsibility to care for our community.

    This disturbing reality shows exactly what George Carlin stated in 2007 before his death: “Your government doesn’t give a s**t about you.” Your government, San Diego, is saying “sure, it’s clear Doyne rips people off, lies, and harms people and their kids, but we’re okay with that.” No kidding folks–your government is complicit in, and indeed encourages, this (and other) illegal conduct. If that doesn’t give you reason to wake up and throw these incompetent and/or crooked judges and bureaucrats out of office, what will?

    San Diego–if you’re willing to permit this kind of corruption and abuse, you’re contributing to the demise of your community. In which case you must be ignorant, far too self-abosrbed to see the big picture, in on the deal, or taking way too much Prozac. Wake up San Diego–before it sinks further into despotism. To quote Ben Franklin, “It’s a republic, if you can keep it.” Take it back, and keep it the great city that it is.

  4. Susie r
    April 26th, 2011 at 01:55 | #4

    The inability of individuals (parents) to take responsibility for the demise of the family unit and susequent harm to children is the reason for the horrendous amount of money generated for the benefit of the family court system. It is ludicrous to try to shift the blame to Dr Doyne or other practitioners in the industry. Tadros is simply an angry, vengeful man who didn’t get the rulings and recommendations he wanted and so now focuses his energy on blaming someone else, Dr. Doyne, for life not going his way.

  5. One of Thousands
    October 31st, 2011 at 09:06 | #5

    You’re simply wrong Susie r–the documents speak for themselves. While it’s true that parents bear significant responsibility for their own relationship, you cannot ignore the fact that the divorce industry–including Dr. Doyne–offers enormous incentives to encourage divorce. In other words, they say, “pay us enough and we’ll help you gain full custody and an unfairly big (or unfairly small) support award.” It’s a ridiculous waste of resources and is destroying our community. See the review of Dr. Stephen Baskerville’s “Taken Into Custody” elsewhere on this site, or even better, read the book yourself.

    The simple fact is Doyne is a liar who sues his own clients when caught. It’s amazing that San Diego courts are willing to tolerate-indeed protect-such conduct, but that should show you how incompetent, misguided, and corrupt our courts and government is. And I’m a lawyer who has worked with these people for over a decade. Trust me, the chicken house (and don’t think for one second most of them think of you as anything other than a prey animal existing for their benefit) is being ruled by foxes. American’s finest trial lawyer, Gerry Spence, in “From Freedom to Slavery” and many of his other works, describes the horrendous decay in freedoms, including freedoms of the family, due to government intrusion and control. While it’s true that Doyne is not responsible for all of the harm done by this very dangerous machine run by bigoted dim wits, he is certainly a major cog in that ignorant, cruel machine.

    Good luck people. If you spend any significant time in divorce court you’re either dishonest, cruel, or just plain stupid.

  6. Cole Stuart
    May 24th, 2013 at 15:06 | #6

    I’ve posted a detailed review of San Diego Famil Court Evaluator Stephen Done and opened a discussion forum at http://croixstuart.blogs…. Parents are welcome to join the discussion and exchange tips/advice/experiences about Doyne or any of the other problematic San Diego Custody Evaluators. Please: Parents Only and focus on positive suggestions/advice rather than trashing Doyne even more. There’s plenty that exists already online.

    Best! (Sorry for posting this on several threads Angiemedia! It’s not spam (I Hope???)

  7. October 5th, 2013 at 12:34 | #7

    WARNING! Stepen Doyne, Jeff Fritz, Basie and Fritz, Marilyn Bierer sued for fedeal criminal racketeering, fraud, abuse of process and his family court clients in United States District Court, Southern District of California, Case No. 13cv1944 CAB BLM. Google ccfc v. sdcba (California Coalition for Families and Children v. San Diego County Bar Association). More details at

  8. Slivka
    November 26th, 2013 at 01:42 | #8

    @ Susie r

    Susie, wake up. i was stuck in family law court 10 years which the husband and wife lied. The wife made a death threat tape and lisa guy schull didn’t listen to me and put me in jail for 5 days right before christmas and since then it never stopped. I was stripped of motherhood and my mom suffered a stroke after it. get your facts straight before you write something I had stepehn doyne and jeffrey fritz, it was all about money. john van paver and shelly lyn lawson paver almost killed me. my kids were cash cows and emotionally tortured by them and the family law court. minor council robin devito threatened foster care

  9. One of Thousands
    November 30th, 2013 at 20:18 | #9

    Susie’s comments evidence how far from reality the family courts have fallen. People have conflict–it’s inevitable. That couple have conflict and decide to divorce should surprise no one. Yet when those people reach out for help, they have choices–do the seek to end a relationship and move on, or vent their anger on a spouse, or other loved one.

    We’ve all faced that situation. Some are strong enough to “take the high road” on their own. If they’re lucky to be leaving a relationship with someone else who’s similarly-minded, they’re very, very lucky. Others aren’t, and look for guidance from friends, family, community, and, notoriously today, divorce lawyers and psychologists.

    So what are those who can’t find the high road on their own told my lawyers and psychologists? “Blame”–it’s not your fault. Pay me and I’ll create a reality for you that makes you feel better about your own weaknesses, faults, mistakes, and fears. I’ll forgive you and make sure it’s all someone else’s fault. I’ll take the vengeance that you secretly (or not so secretly) want to take on your own. I won’t make you face the fact that the fact that you’re hiring me to do this is probably a major reason you’re splitting up. I won’t judge you–but I’ll sure as hell be sure your judgments of everyone else–particularly that one special person who failed your expectations, desires, and needs for yourself–pays dearly.

    Sound good? I thought so. Sign here and that will be $10,000 for the month. And we’ll need a credit card to secure future payments.”

    Susie–whatever planet you’re on, it may feel like euphoria, but I guarantee you that the price you pay in integrity is far greater than whatever else you’ve paid someone to lie to you to make you feel better about what appear to be your own abundant delusions.

  1. December 13th, 2009 at 19:32 | #1
  2. April 13th, 2010 at 16:16 | #2
  3. April 16th, 2010 at 04:33 | #3
  4. April 16th, 2010 at 18:23 | #4
  5. April 16th, 2010 at 19:43 | #5
  6. April 16th, 2010 at 20:22 | #6
  7. April 30th, 2010 at 03:40 | #7
  8. October 28th, 2010 at 23:34 | #8

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