The last two defendant’s that had remained in custody related to the Gold Country Lender’s conspiracy and fraud charges, Phil Lester and Susan Laferte, have each been released on150,000 dollar bail. Lester and Laferte demonstrated that money being used to post bail is not coming from a source directly related to the alleged criminal activity or personal sources that would jeopardize their claim as indigent. As a result, Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell did not object to bail being posted. Last week Judge Heidelberger had reduced bail from 600,000 to 150,000 after financial injunctions and protective orders were in place removing the threat of danger to alleged victims. The two other defendants facing charges, Ellen Lester and Jon Blinder, were previously released- Ellen Lester on Own Recognizance and Blinder had posted bail.
In another action, after arguments were heard about the specificity of charges against Jon Blinder resulted in no changes to the charges, Blinder entered a “not guilty” plea.
A Felony Conference is scheduled for the afternoon of November 1 for all four defendants. Defense attornies implied that they will seek a continuance of the Novmeber 6 Preliminary Hearing date citing insufficent time to process the high volume of discovery.
Earlier this week the high cost of this case was brought to light as Assistant County CEO Alison Leaman says the Public Defender’s Office and other Indigent Defense costs are entirely funded out of the County’s general fund.
Click here to listen to Alison Leaman
Leaman says the projected cost to the County to litigate a case such as this would be equivalent to putting six deputies on the street, hiring eight child protective social workers, or ten road maintenance workers.