By Ann Rowland
A former Navy Seal stands accused of stealing $1.1 million from a family friend and ten retired or active duty Navy Seals. A preliminary hearing was held on Tuesday in San Diego to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to send this case to trial. The judge presiding over the case is expected to announce a decision on Monday of next week.
Prosecutors laid out their case against Jason Mullaney, 42, saying that the former Navy Seal scammed eleven people out of money by getting them to invest in his money-lending business, Trident Financial Holdings and Acquisitions. He allegedly told his investors that he was lending money to people with “risky credit”. Mullaney did give $20,000 back to his investors.
Witnesses called to testify against Mr. Mullaney included a police investigator, Michael Brown, and FBI Forensic accountant, April Riel, who looked over Mullaney’s financial records. Police have been investigating the case since 2012.
One of the alleged victims in the case is Andrew Geiger. Geiger was a family friend and had dated Mullaney’s sister. When he was asked to invest $50,000 into Mullaney’s company, he did so with the expectation of a 24% return on his investment. When he received nothing, he began questioning Mullaney.
Brown testified “[Geiger] spoke with Mr. Mullaney, and Mr. Mullaney gave him a series of excuses as to why he couldn’t pay him at that time and offered the ability to reinvest for a later time.” Geiger felt that he had no choice but to wait it out. Attorneys for Mullaney pointed out in court that Mullaney himself had lost money in this business venture.
Riel testified that Mr. Mullaney transferred money from his business account into his personal account. Riel alleged that Mullaney was using his personal account for business and private transactions. Defense attorneys cross-examined Riel about her methods for determining whether or not a transaction was for business or personal use. When questioned Riel answered that co-mingling of accounts is “unusual” but stopped short of calling it “unethical”.
Mullaney has pleaded not guilty to 29 counts, including grand theft and fraud.
Image Courtesy: NBC 7 San Diego