The wait is over for former investors in Global Express Capital Corp. and Connie Farris, the company’s former president who is charged with 63 counts of mail fraud.
A jury was selected Tuesday and opening statements are expected to start at 8:30 a.m. today. The trial is expected to last up to five weeks.
Her trial has been postponed about 10 times since she was indicted in 2007, but U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt granted no further delays despite docltors’ claims last week that she was too ill to travel to Las Vegas from an unspecified location in California.
Farris operated Global Express, a hard money lender that had $44 million in claims from investors but only $15 million in assets when a receiver was appointed late 2003.
Global Express solicited money from investors, many of them retired, and used the money to make loans to developers. Investors were attracted by double-digit interest rates and the relative security of having real estate as collateral.
The case was postponed once when she underwent hip surgery on the eve of her trial and she dismissed her private attorneys. Since then, Assistant Federal Public Defender Shari Kaufman obtained delays to prepare for the case.
In September, Farris broke her leg and her trial was postponed again. The judge directed her to arrive in Las Vegas by Monday or said he would issue a warrant for her arrest.
Farris, who is in her mid-60s, once had blond hair but her hair was mostly gray on Tuesday.
In papers filed last week, Kaufman said Farris would be unable to sit longer than five hours daily, suggesting the judge might be forced to shorten daily sessions.
Hunt explained that the court purchased a hospital bed and a wheelchair for her so that the trial could start without further delays. The bed and wheelchair sat by the defense table in the courtroom.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Pugh and Patrick Walsh represent the government in the case. Rebecca Rosenstein joined Kaufman on the defense team.
Contact reporter John G. Edwards at
email@example.com or 702-383-0420.