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Trial set for Healdsburg broker accused of $200 million fraud

Gary Armitage

Published: Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.

A Redding judge has set a Nov. 9 trial date for former Healdsburg investment adviser Gary Armitage, who is accused of orchestrating a massive real estate Ponzi scheme.

Armitage and co-defendant James Koenig of Redding pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 50 and 42 counts respectively of financial fraud and burglary in connection with the scheme, according to court records.

The men were re-arraigned on charges following an extended preliminary hearing earlier this year after which Shasta County Superior Court Judge Cara Beatty ordered them to stand trial.

Prosecutors allege the men swindled more than 2,000 investors, many of them senior citizens, out of an estimated $200 million.

The judge also denied a defense motion to throw out the burglary charges against Koenig. The defense noted that, unlike Armitage, Koenig never entered the homes of any of the investors, records show.

State prosecutors countered that Koenig should still face burglary charges because he conspired with Armitage in the scheme to bilk investors through visits to their homes, which is considered a form of burglary.

The judge also denied a defense motion to reduce bail. They remain in custody in lieu of $5 million bail. The trial is estimated to take four months.

Armitage and Koenig earlier rejected plea offers of 25 and 20 years in prison, respectively.

Jeff Guidi, Armitage's partner in the now defunct investment firm, AGA Financial, reached a plea deal with prosecutors mid-way through the preliminary hearing, agreeing to cooperate with authorities, including testifying against his former partner.

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