Fraud Suspect Tries Risky Defense in Court

Fraud Suspect Tries Risky Defense in Court


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(Provo-AP) -- He told his alleged victims about a "no-risk" investment.

Now on trial for fraud, Calvin Stewart is trying what could be a risky defense.

He told a Provo judge yesterday that the court system doesn't have any jurisdiction over him, and he does not consent to the trial.

The trial is scheduled to continue today -- despite Stewart's objections.

He's accused in a real estate scam that swiped 22 (M)million dollars from Utah homeowners.

Stewart and others reportedly would promise people who were selling their homes that they could place the equity in a trust account. That money would be invested -- earning a 40-percent return -- all with no risk to the homeowner.

Turns out, prosecutors say it was a classic Ponzi scheme, where the only returns being paid came from new investors -- not investment profit.

Two alleged accomplices have agreed to testify against Stewart in exchange for lighter sentences. There's also a huge civil lawsuit pending against the suspects.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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