This news is old but forgotten. I keep seeing ads for Bernstein’s diet clinics on TV and wonder what special forces it took to acquit him of attempted murder charges when all of the jewellry and Rolex watches were stashed in his home… I also wonder what kind of powerhouse lawyer he employed to get the Toronto Star to eventually take Bernstein’s name out of subsequent stories on the murder plot that you can read below…could it have been Edward Greenspan? How could he afford him? And what is up with the kidnapping of him and his wife where they were found stuffed in the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz several years later? I found these articles in the Star’s online archives. Googling Bernstein’s name gets you nothing more than “”Criminal Background checks”, so in all its glory, I’m posting some of the weird and criminal history behind Toronto’s very own Doctor Death. Enjoy the headline timeline (Only main articles published in full).
Toronto doctor charged in contract murder plot:[FIN Edition]
John Duncanson Toronto Star. Toronto Star Toronto, Ont.:Jul 21, 1992. p. A1
A controversial North York weight-loss doctor appeared in court today for a bail hearing after a Metro police sting operation involving the contract murders of two men.
Dr. Stanley Bernstein and two business associates were picked up last week by Metro police and charged with plotting to kill a business associate and another friend.
Police said greed was the motive behind the planned killings, which were foiled by a Metro undercover officer who posed as a contract killer.
Nearly $2 million in stolen Rolex watches, diamonds, rare coins, gold and jewelry was found in a police raid on a Bridle Path-area home.
The 50-year-old doctor, whose weight-loss methods had been challenged by some health critics, once boasted that 15,000 people had subscribed to his low-calorie vitamin B diet plan.
Bernstein, Arnold Markowitz, 51, of Clarendon Ave. and Peter Gassyt, 59, of Oakridge Dr. in Scarborough face 10 charges including conspiracy to commit murder.
Bernstein also faces a further charge of possession of stolen property.
Markowitz and Gassyt are to appear in court Friday.
The stolen valuables included 26 Rolex watches worth $310,000, which disappeared while en route from Switzerland to the Bahamas in 1985.
Police spent most of yesterday cataloguing the dozens of rare coins, gold and silver wafers, watches, stamp collections and loose diamonds they found.
“We’re hoping the public will recognize some of these possessions so we can get them back to their rightful owners,” said Staff Inspector Ron Sandelli of the Metro police intelligence unit.
According to undercover officers, the raid was supposed to be a routine search for evidence as police pieced together the murder plot, to which they were tipped in late June.
“It was simply incredible . . . we had no idea we were going to find this stuff,” one undercover officer said.
Police learned on June 23 that three people were trying to hire a contract killer to murder a business associate. They quickly put the Toronto businessman under police protection.
Metro intelligence officers, assisted by a professional make-up artist, set out to fake the intended victim’s murder.
Police snapped Polaroid pictures of an undercover officer standing over the body of his victim, made up to look as if he was shot in the head.
The “hit man’s” work was so impressive he was paid to kill a second person, police said.
Police said they were given “a substantial amount” for the first contract killing at a meeting last Tuesday 1and a down payment on a second. Three men were arrested that day.
Contract-killing sting nabs Toronto MD, businessmen:[FINAL Edition]
The Windsor Star Windsor, Ont.:Jul 21, 1992. p. A2
Bail hearing continues for charged doctor:[FIN Edition]
Peter Edwards TORONTO STAR. Toronto Star Toronto, Ont.:Jul 22, 1992. p. A2
Murder planners signed up cops instead of hitmen:[1* Edition]
The Province Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 22, 1992. p. A28
Diet doctor charged in murder plot; Police officer disguised as hitman staged fake killing:[FINAL Edition]
The Gazette Montreal, Que.:Jul 22, 1992. p. B4
Diet doctor charged in death plot:[Final Edition]
CP. Calgary Herald Calgary, Alta.:Jul 22, 1992. p. A9
Doctor no longer faces charge in murder plot:[AM Edition]
Sally Ritchie TORONTO STAR. Toronto Star Toronto, Ont.:Sep 22, 1992. p. A1
crown attorney has dropped a charge of conspiracy to commit murder laid against a North York doctor this summer.
Frank Armstrong, North York’s senior crown attorney, withdrew one of the charges against Stanley Bernstein, said Edward Greenspan, Bernstein’s lawyer.
“The crown said today that they had no evidence – something that I said from the very beginning,” said Greenspan of yesterday’s hearing before Judge Lauren Marshall of Ontario Court, provincial division.
“I think the crown acted totally responsibly,” Greenspan said, “but it’s difficult to say thank you after the barrage of publicity that implicated (Bernstein).”
Armstrong could not be reached for comment.
Bernstein was charged July 14 with the conspiracy charge and possession of stolen property.
He still faces three counts of possession of stolen property, which Greenspan said he will “absolutely” plead not guilty to during his trial in December.
Greenspan and one of the main investigators, Detective Tom Klatt, said these charges are completely unrelated to the conspiracy charge.
Bernstein was charged, along with Peter Gassyt, 59, of Oakridge Dr. in Scarborough and Arnod Markowitz, 51, of Clarendon Ave. in Toronto, of plotting to kill a “person as yet unidentified.”
Gassyt and Markowitz were also charged jointly with conspiracy to murder and counsel to commit murder. Their intended victims are listed in court documents as Irwin Krakowsky and Stephen Dulmage, both of Metro.
Both Gassyt and Markowitz are still in custody. Their preliminary inquiry is scheduled for November.
Greenspan is also highly critical of a news conference about the arrests held by Detective Staff Inspector Ron Sandelli of the intelligence division.
“We feel very aggrieved by the press conference. There were misstatements that (Bernstein) was charged with more than one conspiracy, and that he was somehow present with other co- conspirators when they met with the undercover police officer.
“He was never present, he was never there. There was no evidence.”
Caption: Photo: STANLEY BERNSTEIN: No evidence he was involved in murder conspiracy.
Murder conspiracy charge dropped:[Final Edition]
The Hamilton Spectator Hamilton, Ont.:Sep 22, 1992. p. A2
Photo of victim lying dead delighted employers, trial told:[FIN Edition]
Wendy Darroch TORONTO STAR. Toronto Star Toronto, Ont.:Jun 01, 1993. Section C, p. A22
Diet doctor and his wife robbed, stuffed in trunk:[Final Edition]
Canadian Press. The Windsor Star Windsor, Ont.:Jul 9, 1998. p. A11
Two gunmen stuffed a couple into a car trunk after robbing their mansion Wednesday.
Dr. Stanley Bernstein told police he was forced to lead the robbers to a safe filled with cash and jewelry.
Police said Bernstein and his wife Judy were left “traumatized” after they spent 90 minutes in the trunk of their Mercedez Benz.
The bandits apparently placed a call to one of the doctor’s diet clinics, leading police to Bernstein’s sprawling home.
“Someone made a call that, if we went there, we’d find two people in the trunk of a vehicle,” said Det.-Sgt. Jim Crowley. “And that’s exactly what was found.
Police said Bernstein, 57, was leaving for work when one of the masked gunmen followed him into his four-car garage and stuck a gun to his head.
The man’s accomplice then “immediately appeared,” Crowley said.
Bernstein was forced back into the house to open the safe, Crowley said.
Known widely as the Diet Doctor, Bernstein came to prominence by operating a series of successful diet clinics.
His weight-loss program has been advertised in Toronto newspapers and Bernstein once claimed a list of 15,000 patients a year in 11 clinics around the city.
Robbers stuff diet doctor and his wife in Mercedes trunk after cleaning out safe:[Final Edition]
The Spectator Hamilton, Ont.:Jul 9, 1998. p. C3
Doctor and wife forced into trunk:[First Edition]
The Record Kitchener, Ont.:Jul 9, 1998. p. A3
Doctor offers reward:[1 Edition]
Dale Anne Freed. Toronto Star Toronto, Ont.:Jul 28, 1998. p. 1