Estate Financial chiefs’ arraignments postponed
October 27, 2008
By THE EDITORS
San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford Monday agreed to continue the arraignment of Estate Financial Inc. principles Karen Guth and her son Joshua Yaguda on 26 felony charges to Nov. 21.
Irvine-based attorney Dyke Huish requested the delay to allow time to retain and brief a second defense attorney. Crawford also granted Guth and Yaguda access to discovery.
Bail remains at $5 million for each suspect. If either Guth or Yaguda try to post bail, a hearing will be held by district attorney officials to determine if money is tainted before bond can be accepted. This follows a separate motion filed by the district attorney’s deputies.
Huish suggested it would be very difficult to find unbiased jurors in this county but declined comment on plans to seek a change in venue.
“I intend to work closely with the district attorney’s office to come to a reasonable and fair conclusion to this case,” Huish added.
“We would oppose a venue change,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve VonDohlen.
Enticed by the promise of generous returns on property-secured investments, approximately 3,400 investors entrusted nest eggs with EFI. In July, EFI’s portfolio contained more than $317 million in monies owed to investors. Of that, only $21,000 remained unencumbered just a few months ago.
Guth and Yaguda were arrested Oct. 16 by a joint task force including agents from the state departments of Corporations and Real Estate, the district attorneys office, the IRS, and the FBI. Criminal charges include disseminating false information to investors; failure to inform investors when properties sold; and unlawful sales to out-of-state residents.
The issue, said Huish, is whether the pair planned to defraud investors, or if they simply conducted poor business practices.