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Jailed securities lawyer in fraud case denied bail

Jeanne Rowzee, who is accused of a scam that bilked investors out of $20 million, is deemed a flight risk.

May 22, 2008|Kim Christensen | Times Staff Writer

A federal magistrate ordered Irvine securities lawyer Jeanne M. Rowzee held without bond Wednesday after prosecutors contended she was a flight risk.

Rowzee, who is charged with wire fraud in an alleged $20-million investment scam, will remain in the Santa Ana city jail, which houses some pretrial defendants in federal cases.

Her attorney, Craig Wilke, a federal public defender, had asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato to postpone Rowzee's initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana until Tuesday to allow time to determine her resources to post bail.

Nakazato denied the request, along with Wilke's subsequent call for the magistrate to recuse himself.

"In our view, he appeared to prejudge the case," Wilke said afterward, adding that he would seek a new hearing before another judge.

Rowzee, 49, is scheduled to be arraigned June 9 in the same courthouse.

She was charged Tuesday, suspected of defrauding some 150 investors who gave tens of millions of dollars to her and others working with her to put into sophisticated investment vehicles known as private investment in public equities, or PIPEs. Prosecutors allege that Rowzee instead diverted the money to herself and others.

Rowzee, Santa Ana insurance salesman James R. Halstead and others also are named as defendants in more than half a dozen civil lawsuits alleging the same fraud. Only Rowzee has been charged.

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kim.christensen@latimes.com

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