Fraud trial of ex-stockbroker is delayed again, to Jan. 14

Local case involves misappropriation of clients' $2.6 million

October 11, 2001|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

For the second time in six weeks, the state jury trial of former stockbroker Monica L. Coleman has been postponed.

The trial, which was initially scheduled for Aug. 30 in Baltimore Circuit Court and then rescheduledfor Oct. 16, now is slated for Jan. 14, said Eileen McInerney, the assistant state attorney general prosecuting the case.

The trial was postponed because of "the unavailability of one of the state's witnesses," McInerney said. "It was a joint postponement with no objection from the defendant."

Jeffrey Kinstler, an assistant public defender and Coleman's attorney, could not be reached for comment.

Kinstler requested the first delay because there was an "enormous amount of discovery material that we have to get through."

Coleman was indicted in January on charges of felony theft, misappropriation and securities fraud.

The Maryland attorney general's office said Coleman, who started the now-defunct brokerage firm Coleman Craten LLC in February 1998, misappropriated $2.6 million from clients and converted the money "to her own personal or business use, never investing [all the funds] as she represented to her investors."

Coleman pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Baltimore Circuit Court in April.

Attorneys said it is not unusual that trials end up being postponed.

"It happens," said Nancy Alquist, an attorney for James and Carol Hyde, who claim they were defrauded by Coleman. "It just happens and this isn't a very long continuance. The Hydes are satisfied ... with the progress and scheduling of this matter by the state of Maryland so far."

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