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Man Who Planted Bomb at Aliso Viejo Spa Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges

Man Who Planted Bomb at Aliso Viejo Spa Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges

A view of the defendant's table in a courtroom in downtown Los Angeles on March 16, 2009. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

City News Service
City News Service

11/10/2023

Updated: 11/10/2023

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LOS ANGELES—A Long Beach man who is awaiting sentencing for planting a homemade bomb that killed his ex-girlfriend and injured two others at an Aliso Viejo day spa in 2018 pleaded guilty Nov. 9 to fraud charges.
Stephen Beal, 64, entered his plea in downtown Los Angeles to federal counts of wire fraud, Social Security fraud, and concealment of bankruptcy assets, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton set sentencing for Feb. 23.
In the bombing case, Mr. Beal was convicted at retrial in July of the use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, malicious destruction of a building resulting in death, use of a destructive device in a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
He faces a potential life term in federal prison, and a mandatory minimum of 30 years, at sentencing on Jan. 19, prosecutors said.
Mr. Beal was scheduled to go on trial next week on charges alleging he failed to report in a bankruptcy proceeding $350,000 he received from his late wife’s estate. Mr. Beal also allegedly schemed to fraudulently obtain insurance benefits and Social Security payments.
In a plea agreement, Mr. Beal admitted to receiving about $1 million in fraudulent disability payments from an insurance company based on a disability he did not suffer from.
He also admitted to receiving more than $350,000 in fraudulent Social Security benefits, and said he concealed assets from a bankruptcy court in connection with the filing of his 2009 bankruptcy, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
First responders respond to a bomb threat in Santa Ana, Calif., on March 10, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

First responders respond to a bomb threat in Santa Ana, Calif., on March 10, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Beal was arrested in March 2019 in connection with the May 15, 2018, explosion that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak, who coowned the Magyar Kozmetica day spa with Mr. Beal, and critically injured a mother and daughter.
When Ms. Krajnyak rejected Mr. Beal and made no secret of dating other men, he “channeled his humiliation into hatching a plan to take revenge,” prosecutors said.
FBI officials said Ms. Krajnyak was killed when she opened a cardboard box near the front desk of the Magyar Kozmetica spa, triggering the explosive device inside. The force of the massive explosion ripped Ms. Krajnyak’s body apart and destroyed the building.
Evidence included pieces of wire found at the bombing scene that matched wire discovered during a search of Mr. Beal’s home. About a week before the explosion, Mr. Beal was seen on surveillance video purchasing the type of battery used in the explosive device.
The defense argued that  Mr. Beal was a rocket hobbyist with a history of building and launching hobby rockets and making fireworks—and any wire or other materials found in his home had no connection to the bomb.
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