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by Mike Caswell
Todd Ficeto, a Beverly Hills broker who received six years in jail for the Absolute Capital Management Holdings Ltd. fraud, has filed an appeal. Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Ficeto and others, including Vancouver Island resident Colin Heatherington and fugitive German hedge fund manager Florian Homm, were behind a $200-million scheme in which Mr. Ficeto made off with $27-million. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The government said that the men ran a "portfolio-pumping" operation in which they manipulated thinly traded OTC Bulletin Board and pink sheets companies.
Mr. Ficeto, 56, was convicted for his part in the fraud after a 17-day jury trial in Los Angeles. To date, he is the only defendant to go on trial. Mr. Heatherington contested his extradition from Canada, delaying his arrival in U.S. custody by several years, while Mr. Homm remains a fugitive.
The appeal for Mr. Ficeto is contained in a brief notice entered on Wednesday, Nov. 30, in federal court in California. Mr. Ficeto has not set out his grounds for appealing, but he previously complained that his lawyer was ineffective, failing to call witnesses that would have helped his case, among other things. In particular, Mr. Ficeto said that his lawyer failed to call as a witness an FBI agent who had worked on his investigation. According to Mr. Ficeto, the agent had a questionable background, having been disqualified in another case for misconduct.
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