CALIFORNIA came back to haunt Oded Daniel Gal again, 26 years after the private investigator hired two goons to beat up John Wayne's daughter there for a client.

Today, Gal lives in a quiet town-house complex in Cherry Hill, though his car still has California tags and at least one of his phones has a California area code. Early on the morning of Dec. 4, agents with the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Services visited the home and, according to court documents, arrested Gal for allegedly obtaining a passport in New York City in 2006 in the name of a California man who died in 1982.

Gal, according to court documents, allegedly had a driver's license and birth certificate in the name of Michael Richard Press, a Los Angeles man, and was later issued the passport. Gal, who is in his late 50s, was released on $250,000 bail. No one answered the door at his home in Cherry Hill yesterday. Later, he called from a Beverly Hills number and declined to comment.

A spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security did not return requests for comment, but Gal's attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said Gal never used the passport and believed he actually shredded it.

"It's really kind of a silly case," Parlatore said. "He decided it was a silly thing to do, so he got rid of it."

The complaint against Gal, filed in the U.S. District Court of Southern New York, claims the fraudulent passport was flagged by DSS because it contained a Social Security number associated with a deceased individual. Later, a facial-recognition program matched that passport with one issued to Gal in 1996.

When asked why Gal needed a fraudulent passport, Parlatore declined to comment.

According to articles in the Los Angeles Times, Gal was arrested in Switzerland in 1989, the fourth person nabbed in connection with the Oct. 3, 1988, attack on Aissa Wayne and her then-boyfriend, Roger Luby, at his Newport Beach, Calif., home. According to the newspaper, Gal was accused of being the middleman.

Gal, the Times reported, was hired by Wayne's estranged husband, Thomas Gionis, and he in turn hired two men who "bound and beat" the couple at gunpoint in the home's garage that day, the paper reported. Wayne's face was smashed into the concrete floor, the paper reported, and Luby's Achilles tendon was slashed.

In June 1992, Gal pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment and was later sentenced to four years in prison.

Gal, according to his LinkedIn page, is still a private investigator.

When reached yesterday in California, Wayne said she doesn't think about the attack all that often, or Gal.

"I never knew what happened to him after that" she said, referring to the court proceeding. "I hoped he was on a better path."