Motion for new Gold Country Lenders trial set for August |

Motion for new Gold Country Lenders trial set for August

A Nevada County judge noted the lengthy delays that have plagued the resolution of the Gold Country Lenders case — which began in 2012 with the arrest of CEO Phil Lester and CFO Susan Laferte — and went ahead with setting dates to hear a motion for a new trial.

Lester and Laferte allegedly defrauded investors of millions of dollars over a period of eight years. Each had faced 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 financial elder abuse.

Their trial, which was prosecuted by California Deputy Attorneys General Maggy Krell and Randy Mailman, began in Nevada County Superior Court in April 2015. In June 2015, after two weeks of deliberation, a jury found Lester guilty on 57 counts and Laferte guilty on 35 counts. The jury also found true special allegations that both defendants defrauded investors of more than $1.3 million, and of aggravated white-collar crime.

Sentencing had been postponed several times because the pair’s court-appointed attorneys, Greg Klein and Mary Beth Acton, had not received all of the trial transcripts.

In court Friday, Judge Candace Heidelberger said that transcripts for two days of jury selection still being worked on, but were expected to be done by Tuesday.

She noted that the main transcripts had been available for “quite some time.”

Heidelberger directed Acton and Klein to file a motion for a new trial by June 27, with the response by the prosecution due by July 27. Any defense reply to that will be due by July 29.

Heidelberger will conduct a hearing on the motion for a new trial on Aug. 5, and will issue her ruling on Aug. 19. If she denies the motion for a new trial, sentencing will be on that date, she said.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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