Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 11:46 AM | Contributed by Jeff
The complex and lengthy securities fraud trial of Thomas Etheredge ended Wednesday with a jury finding the founder of the failed Wild West World theme park guilty on seven of nine counts. Etheredge, 55, faces a maximum of 14 years in prison, according to Steve Joseph, his defense attorney.
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I'm still not clear on what evidence suggested that he misrepresented the investment. That people lost money isn't enough. That he sucked at business isn't enough. I wonder if they'll appeal. Although, how do you appeal if you have no money left?
^"He (Etheredge's lawyer) said he would file the appeal notice on the sentencing date but that a public defender would represent Etheredge from there."
Have to wonder about his prior conviction on the same securities charges, and how much that influenced the jury (judge's instructions notwithstanding). The investors/witnesses suggest that he mirepresented his past in convincing them to invest in the business...
That he was a bad businessman as well seems hard to contest...but that should be beside the point.
What if Wild West World had turned out to be successful. Would he still have been charged with fraud for misrepresenting his past to the investors?
I think the investors failed in part to do their due diligence, but I haven't seen all of the evidence against him, so it's hard to draw any conclusions.
Apparently, a bunch of the charges were dropped on the final day of the trial, so the jury heard a lot of arguments and saw evidence that wouldn't have been presented if those charges were dropped from the get go. I wonder if it was a fair trial and if that unnecessary evidence influenced their decision?
I don't understand where there was fraud. He did in fact build the park and it did operate briefly. It's not like he ran off with their money or filed for bankruptcy and ended up wealthy. I guess the government is going to start throwing the dumb risk takers in jail if their plans don't pan out. Scary.Last edited by egieszl, Friday, February 12, 2010 2:20 PM
So does anyone know what the counts were, curious of what he was found guilty on versus not-guilty.
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