Federal trial delayed
By By Marianne Todd/0The Meridian Star
Jan. 8, 2001
A federal trial of four area residents accused of conspiracy, mail fraud and obtaining money by fraudulent purposes from Comcast cable system has been continued until March 5.
The trial was scheduled to begin today.
A federal grand jury issued a 19-count indictment on March 21 accusing Kim Gianakos, Kary Graham, Darrell Wayne Raley and Clifford D. "Bubba" Newell of conspiring with David Van Colvin, former regional manager of the Comcast-Primestar operation in Meridian.
The indictment alleges 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.
The indictment further alleges co-conspirators Gianakos and Graham would pay the American Express account and recover the money paid on Colvin's account through false invoices fraudulently billed to Comcast for advertising and sales of satellite television systems.
Jackson attorney Frank W. Trapp, who represents Gianakos, said the continuance was granted based on a motion to disqualify legal counsel. The motion was filed by prosecutors on Dec. 29, alleging Trapp is a witness in the case.
Trapp did not say why prosecutors feel he might be a witness.
According to the indictment, the four are accused of concealing their acts and mailing the false billing statements through the United States Postal Service from January 1994 to August 1996.
Gianakos has denied the charges, saying her agency received independent verification of their billing procedure from the chief financial officer of Comcast, Colvin's boss.
Gianakos said she had no knowledge that some of the expenses were personal and she expects a jury to vindicate her company in court.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.