Follow up: ‘Husband’ of Japanese socialite makes plea deal


As the October issue of Desert Companion went to press, Gregory Dodkin’s lawyer was making a plea deal with the Clark County District Attorney. Dodkin was one of two main characters in the feature story “You Never Know Their Real Intentions,” the other being John Kawasaki. Dodkin and Kawasaki have for five years been locked in battle over the estate of retired Japanese art and antiques dealer Reiko Kawasaki, John’s mother and Dodkin’s purported wife, who died in Las Vegas in April 2010.

As the story details, Dodkin’s swift actions following Reiko Kawasaki’s death allowed him to take control of both her body and her assets. He told the police and coroner he was her husband, a claim he never dropped, even after failing to produce a marriage certificate in court. Meanwhile, John Kawasaki’s father, Kiyonobu Kawasaki, provided evidence through the Japanese government that he and Reiko, though living apart, had remained married and that John was their son. Dodkin’s claim to Reiko’s inheritance was denied, though he continued to pursue probate appeals and civil suits.

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… Until he was indicted on criminal charges, that is. The district attorney in 2013 accused Dodkin and two of his employees, John Foley and Steve Russo, of several felonies — fraud, theft, false claim to an inheritance — as well as a gross misdemeanor conspiracy charge. The case proceeded slowly, however, and Dodkin received several trial continuances based on his deteriorating health, the specifics of which were not on record.

The most recent scheduled trial date was September 28, 2015. One week prior, according to the case docket, Dodkin pled guilty to the gross misdemeanor conspiracy charge only and was placed on probation. In exchange for all felony charges against him being dropped, he agreed to pay fees, provide financial disclosures, stay away from the Kawasaki family and comply with court orders and other laws. The status of cases against Foley and Russo is unknown.

Asked how he felt about the development, John Kawasaki said he’s still processing it, but is glad to see the case come to a close, even though he would have preferred that it go to trial.  

“I am disappointed that someone has manipulated the justice system so much,” he added. “He wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars of the court’s time, which could have been better allocated.”

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