There will be no help coming from the state when it comes to paying costs for indigent defendants in a local fraud case. Senate Bill 16, which was working its way through the legislature, would have provided reimbursement for cases that the State Attorney General is responsible for trying in the county. Nevada County Financial Analyst Ryan Gruver says that the bill died in committee just a few day ago.
Gruver says that current law allows for certain cases to be reimbursed but not all types of cases.
Currently the Gold Country Lenders alleged 3.2 million dollar fraud case is being tried by the Attorney General’s Office, and defendants Phil Lester and Susan Laferte have claimed they are indigent. To date, the County has absorbed over $200,000 in defense costs.
The Attorney Geneeral’s Office offered Lester and Laferte a plea agreement which would have included jail time for both of earlier this month. The defendants had until August 15th to accept the offer. There is speculation that neither Lester or Laferte accepted the plea agreement. The case is scheduled to go to trial in October.