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Proceedings Moving Forward

Arraignment proceedings moved forward today for three of the four individuals accused of securities fraud, conspiracy and elder abuse for operating a Ponzi scheme that bilked dozens of investors of over $2.3 million. Phil Lester, his wife Ellen, and his sister Susan Laferte entered the courtroom wearing jail issued clothing,  handcuffs and shackles along with the defendants in other cases being heard in District Court 2 at the Nevada County Court house at 2:30 this afternoon (Monday).
Judge Ann York shuffled the schedule and took the three defendants first in order to accommodate State Deputy Attorney General, Maggy Krell and a mixed docket of cases in various stages.
Judge York confirmed the public defender’s appointment of Micha Pierce to represent Phil Lester, David Alkire to represent Ellen Lester, and Greg Klein to represent Susan Laferte. Klein was represented by an associate attorney as he was in Sacramento this afternoon.
The defendants waived their rights for each of the counts to be read aloud and the court proceeded to bail discussions.
Phil Lester and Susan Laferte remain in custody with bail set at $600,000 though Judge York pointed out that the actual bail schedule could be $745,000. Lester and Laferte will have a bail review hearing on October 4.
Ellen Lester was released on her Own Recognizance (OR) with stipulations that she resides at a Penn Valley address her attorney provided the court. She will be allowed short visits- not to exceed 5 days- to Riverside County in order to attend to matters in her county of residence.
All three defendants have a temporary “NO CONTACT ORDER” with any purported victims in the case.  No contact in any manner personal or electronic may occur and defendants must remain 100 yards from any victim if released on bail.
An official 136.2 no contact order will be issued on October 4th.
The arraignment of the fourth defendant, Jon Blinder is scheduled for October 23rd.
A Status hearing will also take place on October 23rd.
A Preliminary Injunction hearing has been set for October 26.
Maggy Krell declined to comment on the details of the case, the investigation, or the possibility of restitution to any of the victims. The State Attorney General’s Office is continuing to prepare for the October 4th, 23rd, and 26th proceedings.

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