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Dr. Phil is a 'terrible, terrible man,' San Diego judge says at sentencing of shoplifters

March 24, 2010 |  8:03 am


The San Diego judge in the case of two shoplifters who confessed to Dr. Phil had some unkind words for the TV personality this week when the pair were sentenced.

Judge Irma Gonzalez on Monday sentenced Matthew Eaton  to 27 months in jail and his wife, Laura Eaton, to 12 months. Both had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in stolen goods across state lines.

Gonzalez criticized Dr. Phil, saying he did not give the couple enough help and counseling when they agreed to appear on his show. She called him "a terrible, terrible man," adding, "what a charlatan this man is."

On the television show, the couple, living in San Marcos in northern San Diego County, said they had earned up to $100,000 a year by selling stolen goods on the Internet. They traveled to several states, often with their children as decoys, to shoplift at toy stores and other business, according to court documents.

When investigators raided the couple's home, 500 boxes of stolen goods were seized.

-- Shelby Grad and Tony Perry

Photo: Matthew Eaton, 34, and his wife, Laura, 27, appear on "Dr. Phil." Credit: DrPhil.com