Monday, Jan 14 2013 05:24 PM

Crisp & Cole trial set to begin next January

BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer jcox@bakersfield.com

A trial in the Crisp & Cole mortgage fraud case has been scheduled to begin Jan. 28 of next year -- five years and four months after federal agents raided homes and offices connected to the formerly high-flying Bakersfield real estate firm.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill set the trial date at a Monday court conference after considering the complexity of the criminal case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting.

"It's based on what the attorneys present to (the judge)," U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lauren Horwood wrote in an email. "That it's a complicated case and they need a lot of time to go over the evidence."

The criminal case revolves around alleged falsification of home loan documents at the now defunct real estate firm of Crisp, Cole & Associates.

At least six family members or business associates have accepted plea deals, while charges remain against the firm's principals -- David Crisp and Carl Cole -- and a handful of their former employees.

Court documents allege the defendants bought, sold and refinanced real estate in order to skim equity from the properties based on artificially inflated home valuations.

Attorneys for Crisp and Cole could not be reached for comment Monday.

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