Moser Pleads Guilty to 7 Counts

by Carl D. Holcombe  on Thursday, May. 6, 2004 12:09 pm  

Suspended attorney Bobby Keith Moser waived arraignment and pleaded guilty Thursday to a seven-count federal indictment in U.S. District Court at Little Rock.

Moser, 47, remained in the custody of U.S. Marshals. The case had been transferred from a federal court in eastern Michigan to the jurisdiction District Court Judge George Howard Jr.

Moser and federal authorities didn't reach any plea agreement, said Kevin Culum, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division.

Moser still faces a four-count indictment in federal court in Arkansas. He pleaded not guilty in late March related to the theft of more than $500,000 in client trust funds.

Federal authorities are considering a motion to consolidate all the cases. A pre-sentencing report will be prepared at a later date, federal authorities said.

Moser's attorney, federal public defender Kimberly Witherspoon, said there were negotiations regarding Moser's pleas on the Arkansas-related charges but declined to provide further details.

Moser pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, and single counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to launder money, obstruction of justice, and a false declaration to a grand jury.

Five of the counts carry up to five-year prison terms and fines of up to $250,000. The money laundering and obstruction of justice charges carry terms, respectively, of up to 20 and 10 years in prison, and fines of up to $500,000 and $750,000.

Moser had agreed to a 10-year sentence for a guilty plea on conspiracy to launder money and obstruction of justice charges, but fled before his sentencing in Michigan in February. He was caught in March in Madagascar. The indictment was upped to seven counts and later the four counts in Arkansas were added.

Howard also said that after sentencing Moser could have the time reduced or increased within the sentencing limits.

New federal sentencing guidelines also don't allow for parole. After serving his time, Moser would be on three years of supervised release.

Dan F. Whitt, of Maumelle, a codefendant of Moser's, was scheduled for sentencing on May 3, but it was postponed for the third time. Sentencing is now slated for the first week of June.

Howard methodically reviewed the charges Thursday against Moser, which involved two contracts with unnamed companies totaling $3 million in a kickback scheme that would've netted Moser about $150,000.

Moser told Howard the incidents occurred in Michigan and Arkansas, and would've occurred in California.

Moser's west Little Rock home was sold in late April. Most of the equity was placed in custody of the U.S. District Court, while federal authorities determine whether stolen money paid for the home.

Moser's wife, Valerie Moser, wasn't in court Thursday. Neither were any other of his family members.

After Moser had been led to the courtroom, before Judge Howard's arrival, he chatted with government attorneys. They asked him about Madagascar, the tropical island off the east coast of Africa, where he was apprehended after fleeing the country, and whether he saw any lemurs.

"Lemurs are wonderful," Moser replied.



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