April 23, 2012
A 4th Judicial District jury acquitted prominent developer Ray Marshall on Monday on all charges of securities fraud, conspiracy and theft in one of the highest-profile local white-collar criminal cases in the past few years.
Marshall was tried on 14 counts of securities fraud, two counts of theft and a count of conspiracy to commit theft. The jury of 10 women and two men began deliberating the Monday before after three weeks of testimony.
Prosecutor Robyn Cafasso declined to comment after the verdict, but the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office later released a statement that it was “grateful for the jury’s efforts in this case.”
“Having deliberated for a week, it’s clear it was not an easy decision,” the statement said. “Financial cases, with voluminous amounts of evidence to consider, can be difficult to prosecute, but we thank the jury for their time and careful consideration.”
Marshall said he’d been through “a long fight. I don’t know if anybody won. The hard thing since this started in 2009 is that I have not been able to say anything to anybody about this while the other side was making comments. I thank the jury for this verdict.”
Jeff Pagliuca, one of Marshall’s two Denver-based attorneys, said the jury “took its time and got it right,” but declined further comment.
Marshall, chairman of LandCo Equity Partners, faced up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines on each securities fraud and theft count and up to six years in prison and $500,000 on the conspiracy charge.
The trial centered on seven transactions LandCo and Marshall completed with 11 investors on proposed or completed development projects in El Paso County. He was charged with stealing $3.1 million from the investors, conspiring with LandCo President James Brodie to steal from them and committing securities fraud by failing to tell investors about two business bankruptcies in his past. Brodie still faces the theft and conspiracy charges; no trial date has been set.
A Sept. 1 ruling by 4th Judicial District Judge Barney Iuppa appeared to weaken the case by narrowing the evidence that could be considered. Prosecutors unsuccessfully appealed the ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court.
In closing arguments, attorneys clashed over whether Marshall diverted millions from investors in a series of complex transactions to solve a chronic shortage of cash at LandCo or whether he was a talented real estate developer facing baseless accusations made by prosecutors with a weak case and disgruntled former investors who lost money when the real estate market tanked.
Marshall’s legal troubles aren’t over. The trial stemmed from a 2009 grand jury indictment and didn’t include six additional theft and racketeering charges filed in February against Marshall in connection with diverting $1 million in grant and city funds from a $42.3 million deal to keep the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Pamela Mackey, Marshall’s other attorney, said she hopes “there won’t be another (trial). Hopefully, (prosecutors) learned their lesson the first time.”
Mackey argued in a Feb. 21 motion that Marshall should not face the new charges because they violate constitutional protections against being tried twice for the same crime, since the latest charges include the same acts included in the 2009 indictment to allegedly demonstrate “a pattern of racketeering activity.” The 2009 indictment did not involve the USOC deal.
Iuppa warned prosecutors at a Feb. 22 hearing on the two cases that they were “playing with fire” by moving forward with the trial on the 2009 indictment, which he said could have “dire consequences” on the latest charges.
The statement by the DA’s office said it continues to prepare for the latest case, which is scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 31.
“It is an entirely separate case, with new charges and different victims,” the statement said.
Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman
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