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Published: 7/19/2006

Jamieson hires lawyer to try to cut sentence

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Jamieson Jamieson
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Fresh off the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear his appeal, convicted Toledo investment executive J. Richard Jamieson is working with a sentencing expert from Florida to try to win a reduction in his prison term.

Jamieson, who is serving 20 years in federal prison in Milan, Mich., in the $90 million collapse of Toledo's Liberte Capital Group LLC, has hired lawyer James Felman of Tampa to represent him at a sentencing hearing this year.

The case is among the largest and highest-profile white-collar fraud cases in Toledo history, and revolved around an unusual type of investment that grew out of the AIDS epidemic.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned Jamieson's 2003 sentence for multiple counts of fraud and money laundering, partly as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory sentencing guidelines.

Mr. Felman declined to comment yesterday.

But prosecutor Seth Uram, an assistant U.S. attorney, said that the former Ottawa Hills man's two-decade term should stand. "I believe the sentence was correct the first time Judge [David] Katz imposed it," he said.

In ordering Jamieson re-sentenced, the appeals court in October upheld his conviction. Jamieson asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the spring, but last month, the court declined to hear the case.

Now, it appears that one of 44-year-old Jamieson's few remaining chances of an early release rests in the re-sentencing hearing set for Sept. 18 in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

In hiring Mr. Felman, Jamieson selected an attorney well acquainted with federal sentencing laws. He is a past chairman of an American Bar Association corrections and sentencing committee, helps organize a well-respected annual seminar on federal sentencing guidelines, and formerly was an adviser to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Mr. Felman replaced Jamieson's longtime attorney, Susan Bogart, of Chicago.

Last month, Judge Katz threatened Ms. Bogart with contempt of court citations when she failed to turn over Jamieson's files to the new lawyer immediately.

Ms. Bogart, in a telephone interview, blamed a misunderstanding. She said she needed some of the files because she continued to represent Jamieson on the Supreme Court appeal. She said she holds no ill will toward her former client, and that he stands a good chance of receiving a "substantially" reduced sentence .

A jury convicted Jamieson, founder of Liberte Capital, of two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 155 counts of money laundering in October, 2003. About 2,300 investorslost their life savings in the collapse of the firm.

In the mid to late 1990s, prosecutors alleged, Liberte was involved in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain life insurance policies for people who already were sick.

The right to collect death benefits was re-sold to investors who were left holding the bag when insurers discovered the fraud and canceled the coverage.



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