Motions expected Monday in fraud, conspiracy trial
By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
March 4, 2001
U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Lee is expected to hear motions Monday for a continuance in the federal case of four area residents accused of conspiracy and mail fraud.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Jackson on Feb. 24 released a 21-count indictment superseding an earlier indictment on 19 charges related to what prosecutors call a scheme to defraud Comcast Cable in Meridian.
The indictment lists Kim Gianakos, Kary Graham, Darrell Wayne Raley and Clifford D. "Bubba" Newell as defendants.
The foursome's trial was expected to begin on Monday in the Southern District Court of Mississippi. That court date has been delayed until Tuesday pending the hearing, and may be further delayed if Lee grants a continuance. The hearing is scheduled in Jackson.
The range of charges includes conspiracy, mail fraud and obtaining money by fraudulent purposes. The new indictment alleges Newell evaded more than $97,000 in federal income taxes and sought forfeiture of $350,000 from Gianakos and more than $1 million in forfeiture from Raley and Newell.
The indictment accused the foursome of conspiring with David Van Colvin, a former regional manager of the Comcast-Primestar cable television operation in Meridian. The indictments allege Raley and Newell used Colvin's personal American Express account to buy personal items such as houses, cars and real property, and to obtain cash to pay preexisting debts for themselves and Colvin.
Gianakos and Graham are accused of paying the American Express account then recovering the money paid on Colvin's account through false invoices fraudulently billed to Comcast by Gianakos' advertising agency. The invoices billed were allegedly for advertising services and sales of satellite television systems.
A delay in the original January trial date was granted because prosecutors felt Gianakos' attorney Frank Trapp may be called as a witness.
Gianakos has maintained her innocence since the original indictment was issued, saying she had no knowledge that some of the expenses were personal and she expects a jury to vindicate her in court.
Neither Graham, Raley nor Newell could be reached for comment.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.