Trial date set for former Bank of Oswego execs Heine, Yates
Judge sets aside 15 days in November 2016 for case involving 27 federal charges, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud
Two former Bank of Oswego officers will face more than two dozen federal criminal charges in a trial now scheduled to begin on Nov. 1, 2016.
Dan Heine, the bank's former CEO, and ex-CFO Diana Yates were not in court Wednesday when U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon set a date for the trial.
Yates waived her right to appear at the status conference hearing, where she was represented by attorney Janet Hoffman. Heine and his New York-based attorney, Jeffrey Alberts of the law firm Pryor Cashman, participated by telephone from separate remote locations.
Heine and Yates face charges that include conspiracy to commit bank fraud and making false bank entries. Prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney's Office have alleged that both were involved in a scheme to hide bad loans from the bank's board of directors, shareholders and regulators in an effort to portray the bank's financial condition as much better than it was.
If convicted, Heine and Yates face a maximum of 30 years in prison for each count, as well as the forfeiture of any money or property obtained as the result of the violations.
Allegations against Heine and Yates gained traction in July when former Bank of Oswego executive Geoff Walsh admitted his role in such a scheme as part of a plea deal on the eve of his own criminal trial, which was to include 32 fraud-related charges unrelated to his time at the Lake Oswego financial institution.
Walsh's sentencing has been rescheduled for next March.
While prosecutors for the U.S. Attorneys Office estimated a jury trial would likely take no more than 10 days, Hoffman argued that the case could last as long as a month.
"There's a group of many trials within the trial," she said. "Then there's the disparate positions of the two defendants, and how we choose to address those"
Hoffman said 65 potential witnesses had been identified, and noted the government's investigation took two years. She said the case deals with very complex accounting matters," and was an examination of discrete events, each of which could be its own trial.
"There's going to be some thorny discovery issues related to the FDIC, related to the grand jury," she added.
Simon ultimately agreed to scheduling a 15-day jury trial. Both Heine and Yates waived their rights to a speedy trial in favor of the Nov. 1, 2016, court date.
"I accept the schedule, but because this is starting later than I want, there can be no movement from the schedule absent extraordinary circumstances," Simon said.
Earlier this month, Simon ordered the Bank of Oswego to cover Heine's legal costs in the pending criminal trial, agreeing with Heine's civil suit that the bank's articles of incorporation require it to pay all legal expenses for any person involved in a criminal action as a result of their role as a director or officer of the bank.