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Published: Wednesday, 6/25/2003

Federal court jury orders $28 million, home forfeited

Having convicted Toledo businessman J. Richard Jamieson in the collapse of Liberte Capital Group LLC, a jury in U.S. District Court in Toledo decided late yesterday that he should forfeit his Ottawa Hills house and most other assets.

The jurors had found him guilty last week of 159 counts of money laundering and mail fraud.

Federal prosecutors requested the forfeitures under federal statutes against money laundering.

The property and cash the jury ordered forfeited was acquired as a result of a criminal scheme carried on from 1996 to 2000 targeting insurance companies and investors.

The scheme defrauded 2,900 investors nationwide.

Seth Uram, assistant U.S. attorney, had asked for a monetary judgment of $92 million but the jury cut that to $28 million.

Attorney N. Stevens Newcomer, who is defending Jamieson, had urged jurors at a hearing yesterday the government's forfeiture request.

He said prosecutors failed to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the assets in question were involved in money laundering or were traceable to those activities.

Evidence suggests that losses to investors were as high as $105 million, but Mr. Uram had told the jury that the government was asking for $92 million because that amount was substantiated through Liberte Capital bank records.

Of the $92 million, prosecutors said, Jamieson and his firm received $23 million in sales commissions.

Among assets targeted by the government were bank accounts as well as 54 companies set up by Jamieson in the United States and overseas.

Mr. Uram contended that at the time that federal and state agents moved in on his operation in mid-2000, Jamieson was attempting to shield his assets by transferring them into foreign trusts. Jamieson established at least 13 off-shore firms or trusts.

Mr. Newcomer denied that his client was making plans to flee the United States.

Jamieson's house is valued at at least $780,000.

Other assets ordered forfeited include a boat bought for $45,000 in 1999, two personal watercraft, and proceeds of the sale of a Michigan cottage.

No date has been set for sentencing, although prosecutors said Jamieson faces a likely 20 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

His attorneys have vowed to appeal.

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