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CMKM defendant Edwards dies in custody

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fung_derf Member Level  Monday, 02/11/19 11:52:55 AM
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CMKM defendant Edwards dies in custody

Stockwatch Daily16 May 2018By Mike Caswell
JOHN EDWARDS, one of those accused of masterminding the massive CMKM Diamonds Inc. fraud, has died in custody. Nevada prosecutors informed the judge of his death at a status conference on Monday, May 14. Mr. Edwards, 75, had be en in poor health for many years, suffering from dementia and more recently having seizures.
With the death of Mr. Edwards, the long-delayed trial in the CMKM case will have to proceed without any of the main defendants. The other person accused of masterminding the CMKM scheme was Saskatchewan’s Urban Casavant. He died on Feb. 14, 2014, in Saskatchewan after a routine procedure to treat a hernia. Another defendant, Jeffrey Turino, pleaded guilty and died just months after completing a six-year jail term. He suffered complications from heart surgery.
Just weeks ago, Mr. Edwards’s lawyer had asked the judge to release Mr. Edwards on health grounds. He provided few details, but he had previously argued that Mr. Ed wards was not me n tally competent to stand trial. Mr. Edwards’s lawyer also said that he had been negotiating an agreement in which Mr. Edwards would plead guilty, with a recommended sentence equal to the seven years that he had already served in jail.
While most remember Mr. Edwards for CMKM, he had a lengthy career that included working as a stockbroker in the United Kingdom and an accountant in Canada and the United States. He was born in London, U.K., on Oct. 11, 1942 (in the midst of World War II), as an only child. His father worked as a tax inspector. His mother was a homemaker. He remained in school until the age of 17, when he left to work as a stockbroker. In his spare time, he played in a blues band.
At the age of 23, Mr. Edwards married his first wife, Ann, and moved to South Africa to work for a mining company. Four years later, he and his wife moved to Canada, where he found work as a business reporter. He also became qualified as an accountant in Canada. His first two children were born in Canada. The family briefly returned to the U.K. in 1974, and a third child was born.
In 1976, Mr. Edwards came back to Canada, settling in Vancouver and going into business as a chartered accountant. He remained in Vancouver until 1984, when he moved to San Francisco. Around the same time, he divorced Ann. He later married a Canadian woman, Debbie. Mr. Edwards continued working as an accountant in the U.S., eventually moving to Las Vegas. In 2003, he divorced Debbie and in 2004 married a Taiwanese woman named Diana Li.
Around the same time, the CMKM scheme was occurring. Prosecutors set out his part in the scheme in an indictment filed on March 24, 2010, in the District of Nevada. They explained how Mr. Edwards and Mr. Casavant dumped billions of CMKM shares while touting the “Casavant diamond brand” and a purported $50-million jade collection, among other things. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)
Unfortunately for Mr. Edwards, the government considered him a “cornerstone of the criminal enterprise.” He took the initial steps to incorporate CMKM and acquired its predecessor, a defunct tech company called Cyber Mark International Corp., for $2-million, prosecutors said. He made the purchase using an alias, Ian MacIntyre, and set the company’s address to a post office box in Las Vegas.
Much of the scheme revolved around CMKM’s sponsorship of a racing team called “CMKXtreme.” In 2004, the team participated in a series of races, sporting vehicles with the company’s stock symbol. Attendees wore shirts with slogans such as “Got CMKX?” Mr. Casavant frequently attended the races as well. In all, as many as 40,000 investors purchased the stock, according to prosecutors.
By the time prosecutors charged Mr. Edwards for CMKM, he had returned to the U.K. and had purchased a small house in Hampshire. His time there was brief, as he was arrested on a U.S. warrant on Sept. 7, 2009. After his arrest, Mr. Edwards spent five years fighting extradition. He claimed that he was no longer mentally competent to stand trial. He presented a report from a neuro physicist who diagnosed him as having “progressive cerebral deterioration.” The report concluded that Mr. Edwards had “no prospect for cognitive recovery.” Unfortunately for Mr. Edwards, judges in the U.K. ultimately allowed his extradition, finding that it was up to the U.S. courts to determine his competency for trial. He was subject to many expert reports while in the U.S. as well, all of which remained confidential.
With the death of Mr. Edwards, the remaining defendants are Brian Dvorak, Ginger Gutierrez, James Kinney and Nickolaj Vissokovsky. All except Mr. Vissokovsky (who remains wanted) have pleaded not guilty.
(Further information regarding CMKM Diamonds and associated companies can be found in 96 Stockwatch articles dated Oct. 21, 2003; June 22; Sept. 16 and 24; Oct. 1, 15 and 20, 2004; Feb. 11, 14, 18, 22 and 23; March 1, 3, 4, 7, 14, 15, 16 and 21; June 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 29 and 30; July 1, 4, 6, 12 and 13; Aug. 2, 5 and 9; Sept. 7, 12, 27 and 30; Oct. 24, 26 and 31; Nov. 7, 11, 22 and 25; Dec. 1, 6, 9, 15 and 22, 2005; Jan. 3; Sept. 29; Oct. 4, 2006; Aug. 30, 2007; April 7, 9 and 11, 2008; Sept. 21, 2009; Feb. 17 and 23; March 2, 5 and 10; May 18, 2010; Nov. 7, 2011; Jan. 20, April 25, Sept. 26, and Oct. 24, 2012; and Sept. 30, 2013, Oct. 7, 2013, Feb. 20, 2014, May 13, 2014, Aug. 14, 2014, Oct. 7, 2014, Dec. 3, 2014, Sept. 10, 2015, March 4, 2016, and May 19 and 26, 2016, Aug. 12, 2016, Aug. 24, 2016, Oct. 6, 2016, Dec. 20, 2016, March 22, 2017, March 28, 2017, May 23, 2017, April 10, 2018, and April 17, 2018.)
(CMKX) Shares: 703,518,875,000

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