No verdict yet in the trial of CFS Bill Bartmann

Tuesday, November 25th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The jury deliberating in the trial of CFS founder Bill Bartmann hasn't reached a verdict.

Prosecutors say Bartmann conspired with his friend and co-founder Jay Jones to create a shell company called DiMat. They say the men used their own money to buy bad CFS accounts to make it look like CFS was doing better than it was. The stakes are high for Bartmann, extremely high.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says Jay Jones cut a plea deal with the government in exchange for his testimony against Bartmann. Basically, he pleaded guilty to one count and got a five-year sentence, but it could have been much, much higher.

Bill Bartmann has no such deal. He faces 57 counts of conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering. And the maximum penalty is rather mind-boggling. 700 years in prison, and a $2-billion fine. Obviously, he would likely get something less than that. But even a small fraction of that could be a life sentence.

The judge has given the jury the rest of the week off for the holidays. They will pick up again on Monday.

Of course, it's impossible to say which way they're leaning. But Bartmann himself was expecting a quick verdict. It may not turn out that way.