The fraud trial for Gold Country Lenders CEO Phil Lester and Chief Financial Officer Susan Laferte has been postponed yet again.
The move was expected, however, as Lester’s first court-appointed counsel, former Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ken Tribby, resigned in July. Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger subsequently appointed El Dorado Hills attorney Mary Beth Acton to replace Tribby; Laferte continues to be represented by Greg Klein.
Acton has served as defense counsel for a number of high-profile cases in Placer County, including that of cop killer David Allan Virgo and that of Veronica Martinez Salcedo, a Roseville nanny charged with murder in the shaking death of 15-month-old Hannah Rose Juceam in May 2006.
In court Friday, Heidelberger said she found good cause to postpone the trial, which had been set to start Sept. 17.
She indicated, however, that she wanted to tentatively set a new trial date for mid-February.
Acton told Heidelberger she just received discs of discovery from state Deputy Attorney Maggy Krell and was not prepared to set the trial date.
“There have been no experts consulted that I can see,” she said.
“I’m at ground zero … What I got from Mr. Tribby was inconsequential — there’s nothing there.”
Krell said that while she understood Acton’s dilemma, the victims in the case wanted to see it move forward.
A felony conference was set for Oct. 18; Heidelberger said she wanted jury selection to start Feb. 18 with a trial to start Feb. 25.
Lester and Laferte initially were arrested in September 2012, then were indicted in mid-January by a criminal grand jury for allegedly defrauding investors of millions of dollars over a period of eight years.
They face 61 counts each — one count of using a scheme to defraud, 50 counts of offering securities for sale by means of an untrue statement or omission of a material fact and 10 counts of fraud from an elder adult.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.