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Prosecutors Seek to Have Silberman Bond Revoked


SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors asked Tuesday that Richard T. Silberman's $500,000 bond be revoked, saying that there was "no reason" to believe that the prominent San Diego businessman, who disappeared for two days last week, would show up for his upcoming money-laundering trial.

The prosecutors also demanded that Silberman see a psychiatrist. It is possible, prosecutors said, that Silberman had "lost all touch with reality" and was no longer mentally able to stand trial.

U.S. District Judge J. Lawrence Irving, who is presiding over Silberman's case, set a hearing for next Tuesday on the requests.

Silberman vanished Thursday night after telling his family that he was leaving San Diego for an appointment in Orange County. Instead, he flew to Las Vegas. Police found him there Saturday night, unconscious and suffering from a possible overdose of sleeping pills, on a hotel bed. He was hospitalized in Las Vegas and released Monday.

Silberman, scheduled to stand trial in April on charges stemming from a complex money-laundering case, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. It was not known whether he returned to San Diego after leaving the hospital.

Silberman, along with reputed mobster Chris Petti and three other men, is charged with laundering $300,000 given them by an undercover FBI agent who had characterized it as proceeds from a Colombian drug dealer. An FBI report released last Friday, the day Silberman was reported missing, alleges that Silberman confessed to taking part in the money-laundering scheme.

Shortly before he left last Thursday, Silberman transferred "a sizable sum of money," the proceeds from the sale of one of his houses, from an account he controlled to an account to which his wife had access, prosecutors said Tuesday in their legal brief.

Silberman's wife, Susan Golding, is a San Diego County supervisor who apparently was unaware of his trip to Las Vegas and who reported him missing last Friday.

That sale and transfer of funds, the flight to Las Vegas, Golding's apparent lack of knowledge about the trip and the circumstances surrounding Silberman's discovery all indicate that Silberman is likely to flee again, this time to escape trial, prosecutors said in asking that his bond be revoked.

If the bond is not revoked, it should at least be changed to restrict Silberman's travels to San Diego County, Assistant U.S. Atty. Charles F. Gorder Jr. said. In addition, Gorder said, the bond, presently unsecured, should be made "fully secured" and Silberman should be required to check in daily with court officers.

Also, Gorder said, the circumstances of the Las Vegas trip and Silberman's "possible suicide attempt" raise so many questions about Silberman's mental state that he should be forced to see a psychiatrist, to learn if he is mentally competent to stand trial.

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