I am presenting information on my criminal trial from many years ago. This section includes my view of the prosecution’s case. In my last blog, I shared the testimony of the approximately 10 Fund investors that testified.
As hard as it is, I am doing my best to not present a one-sided case.
As I have said previously, the owner of the company I worked for was named Stan and the Government had been pursuing him for years. Stan was charged with many counts from various businesses and “more”. Throughout a significant part of the trial, it felt like Stan was on trial, but I was seated in the defendant’s chair. There was a travel agent that testified that Stan paid for an extravagant vacation possibly with money earned from the company he owned and I worked for. This had nothing to do with me. There was a banker that testified that Stan tried to wire funds from an unauthorized account. This had nothing to do with me. I knew that Stan already knew a lot of the Fund investors from their prior investment and relationships Usually, I had nothing to do with this and little knowledge of any of it. There was one exception.
There was an out of town investor that was considering investing a large amount into the Fund and decided to come to check out our operation. The investor sent his representative, “Mr. L”. I found out about his visit in the morning “Mr. L.” arrived. Stan asked me and others to come to a meeting with no understanding what for. The accountant for the Fund and I were the first to arrive and we sat at one end of the large conference room table. Stan and “Mr. L” came in about 10-15 minutes later, said hello, and sat at the other end of the table, which led me to believe others would continue to arrive. One other person came in and sat near Stan and “Mr. L” briefly. After another 10 minutes or so passed, I asked when the meeting was starting and was told that I didn’t need to stay. Later, I was asked to come in and talk with “Mr. L” for about 10 minutes to explain my background in a fund I managed previously.
At the trial,” Mr. L” was the only investor/witness that came close to saying that I did something “wrong”. I am paraphrasing when I say that ” Mr. L” included me in his meeting with Stan and others when “Mr. L” felt he was promised how his funds would be used that was different from what the written offering circular stipulated. “Mr. L” inferred that I must have heard how his funds would be used and if it what Stan said wasn’t true, I should have called out Stan on it in front of “Mr. L”. I never heard their conversation at all. They could have been talking about the weather from what I knew.
Interestingly years before the trial, “Mr. L.” decided to take civil action on the Fund and all the committee members. I took a polygraph to help substantiate my position and passed with “no deception detected”. The arbitration was a short time away from the beginning of the criminal trial when the prosecutor decided to make a motion to postpone the arbitration until after the trial to avoid confusion. (I don’t get confused hearing the truth more than once.) Otherwise, the cooperating Government witnesses on the fund committee were going to be defending themselves under oath at an investor arbitration alongside me and soon after testifying for the Government to convict me. That would be a tight rope. How do you defend yourself in one venue and plead guilt in another and claim you are telling the truth.
I watched the prosecution take their best shot at me for about 7 days of testimony. There was a lot of drama, different agendas and very different recollections. There were times that instead of saying simply “no or yes”, the response was something vague like, “I don’t recall.” In spite of the drama that stirred, there was never an “aha” moment when anyone gasped and said now I know she did it. …or did you hear what the witness said she did/said?! It just didn’t happen.
Relief filled my heart and I thought as much as no one liked it that the Fund failed, there was no crime. Really, the worst that ever should have happened in this debacle was that some investors decided to take a civil arbitration out against the Fund even though every investor signed a document knowing that the fund could completely fail.
I had always said that I would testify at my trial, but now I had a twinge that maybe it wouldn’t be necessary. Based on my completely biased opinion, the prosecution had not proved their case. Supposedly, I didn’t have to prove my innocence, the prosecution had to prove my guilt. There were pangs of should I still testify or not. If I was wrong that the jury didn’t understand what had happened the way I did, I could still testify. I still had my shot at the truth. If I was right and the jury knew that I was innocent and I mucked up my testimony, I could regret getting on the witness stand. UGH!
My community was extremely small. They were my legal team and a few people that took their time to come to the trial. I will never forget my father-in-law being there daily. He would shake his head at the end of the day and tell us how much he didn’t really understand what was going on. In his sincere but naive way, he reassured me that he thought it was going to be okay. I would always love him for that.
It’s difficult to put into words the intensity of my legal team at this time. They have been with me for 2.5 years at this point and they knew I was innocent. They were so devoted to me and rarely went to trial, so this was a big deal to them. Brenna called it the “super bowl” at one point, so I had some perspective on the importance of the trial to them too.
How do you know the truth? Really think about the answer, not always so obvious.