McGinn-Smith investment fraud trial outcome now a ‘waiting game’

After five weeks of testimony from more than 40 witnesses, after roughly 200 exhibits were admitted

E. Stewart Jones quietly perused some legal paperwork in an otherwise empty federal courtroom in Utica on Tuesday.

After five weeks of testimony from more than 40 witnesses, after roughly 200 exhibits were admitted as evidence, there was little else for Timothy McGinn’s defense attorney to do. And with no questions from jurors on the third day of deliberations, Jones followed much of the same routine he did Monday.

“It’s a waiting game now,” he said.

McGinn, 64, and David Smith, 67, milled about the counsel chambers for most of the day, joined by family members and a handful of supporters. They filed into court to start the proceedings around 9:30 a.m. and then again when the jury was allowed to go home for the day, shortly before 4:30 p.m.

Jones and William Dreyer, Smith’s defense attorney, declined to discuss the case or guess how long they may wait for a verdict. Likewise, Richard Bellis and Elizabeth Coombe, the two federal prosecutors trying the case, declined to comment before a verdict is reached.

The embattled partners of Albany-based investment firm McGinn, Smith & Co. are facing up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines on a 32-count indictment alleging they defrauded clients by skimming money from $37 million invested into 17 private trust funds. Among other crimes, the partners are accused of paying themselves exorbitant fees that were never taxed, moving money from certain trusts to pay preferred clients, creating a backlog of documents to make their unlawful transfers seem legitimate to federal regulators and failing to disclose the looming bankruptcy of an alarm company while soliciting new investors to support the company.

Dreyer and Jones claim federal regulators never grasped the business model the partners employed and were quick to rush to judgment. They argued the firm was battered by the down economy and the partners were on the verge of recouping the millions lost by investors through a rescue plan that was ultimately thwarted after federal regulators froze their assets.

Jurors are expected to resume deliberations this morning. Since being charged Friday, jurors have asked for only one clarification in the judge’s instructions.

Categories: Business, Schenectady County


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