Attorney for alleged Ponzi schemer wants off case
A Grand Junction attorney representing the accused head of Valley Investments wants off the case, citing pretrial publicity.
“Counsel is informed that the government will be seeking to have this case tried in Grand Junction,” attorney Marna Lake wrote in a motion to withdraw from representing 61-year-old Philip Rand Lochmiller Sr.
Lake said the prospect of a multiweek trial in Denver would result in severe hardship on her law practice, neglecting other clients in the process. Lake wrote she is opposed to trying the case in Grand Junction.
“... It’s counsel’s opinion that would be detrimental to Mr. Lochmiller because of the massive, pervasive and prejudicial publicity which has been generated through the local media,” Lake wrote in the motion, citing The Daily Sentinel’s publication Saturday of the top stories of 2009, including Valley Investments’ collapse.
“For these reasons, counsel is in conflict with her concerns regarding her practice and those regarding the best interests of Mr. Lochmiller,” Lake wrote.
The attorney asked U.S. Magistrate Gudrun Rice to appoint “conflict-free” counsel.
Lake was appointed by Rice on Dec. 22 to Lochmiller’s case after federal public defenders said they couldn’t represent him because of an unspecified conflict.
Lochmiller and a Valley Investments employee, Shawnee Carver, 33, are scheduled for arraignment today at the Wayne N. Aspinall federal building in downtown Grand Junction.
Philip Rand Lochmiller Jr., 38, has pleaded not guilty and remains free, along with his father, on $100,000 personal-recognizance bonds.
The Lochmillers and Carver were named in a 33-count indictment alleging Valley Investments defrauded around 400 people out of $31 million over a 10-year period.