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by Mike Caswell
The CMKM Diamonds Inc. trial is looking to be a very slim affair, with prosecutors in Nevada reaching plea agreements with two of the remaining defendants, James Kinney and Ginger Gutierrez. The pair had been scheduled to go on trial later this month, but are instead set to plead guilty in a court appearance on Monday, June 11. Their pending guilty pleas mean that of the case's 10 defendants, only one is left for trial.
Prosecutors claimed that Ms. Gutierrez and Mr. Kinney were assistants to Saskatchewan's Urban Casavant during the massive 2004 pump-and-dump of CMKM. The pair offered and sold billions of unregistered CMKM shares, receiving a combined $9.3-million, prosecutors claimed. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The sales came as part of a larger scheme in which Mr. Casavant and others touted the "Casavant diamond brand" and a purported $50-million jade collection, among other things.
The CMKM trial will now be a rather sparse event. It was already set to proceed without Mr. Casavant and the scheme's other mastermind, U.K. national John Edwards. Mr. Casavant died on Feb. 14, 2014, in Saskatchewan after a routine procedure to treat a hernia. Mr. Edwards's death was more recent, coming on April 13, 2018. His cause of death is listed as metastatic colonic adenocarcinoma, better known as cancer of the colon. He had been in custody since his arrest in the U.K. in 2009. Also dying before trial was Helen Bagley, a former Las Vegas transfer agent. Court filings state that she died on Nov. 17, 2013, while a patient at a hospital in Clark County, Nevada.
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