Politics & Government

Charges against Anderson attorney expanded, court case delayed

A prosecutor said Greenville attorney Fredrick Scott Pfeiffer, facing criminal charges for more than a year, likely won’t go on trial until 2014 for alleged wrongdoing related to Capital Investment Funding, an Easley-based securities firm.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Petrano said during a court hearing Thursday at the Anderson County courthouse that new charges against Pfeiffer mean more evidence is being gathering against him.

In addition, there have been delays while Pfeiffer argued unsuccessfully that the state attorney general had a disqualifying conflict of interest in prosecuting the case, Petrano said.

Pfeiffer’s attorney, Bradley Bennett of Greenville, argued the state has been slow to share its documents through discovery, the pre-trial procedure by which one side gains information held by another, and he asked Circuit Judge Cordell Maddox to help speed the process.

“We would love nothing more, your honor, than to get to trial and get to trial as soon as possible,” Bennett said. “We would love to be able to get Mr. Pfeiffer found not guilty and get back into his life, which he had worked so hard to build.”

Petrano said, “To stand here and say that we haven’t provided anything is absurd.”

Maddox didn’t set a trial date. The hearing shed no light on what has happened to $38.5 million owed to several hundred CIF noteholders.

A court-appointed receiver has been attempting to collect the firm’s assets.

Earlier Thursday, a judge set a $100,000 personal recognizance bond for Pfeiffer, who was indicted by a state grand jury.

Circuit Judge DeAndrea Benjamin also granted Pfeiffer some leeway in travel at a bond hearing in Columbia.

Pfeiffer’s lawyer, William Yarborough III of Greenville, asked Benjamin to allow Pfeiffer to travel inside the United States for business and to pick up family members, saying his client was “squeaky clean.”

But a prosecutor objected to such a broad request. Benjamin said she would grant him limited travel to nearby areas, such as Georgia, and for other areas if a specific request is made.

Pfeiffer’s bond was related to two new indictments returned recently by state grand jurors that, according to court records, charged him with conspiracy, securities fraud, forgery, perjury and other felonies.

Pfeiffer was released on bond on earlier charges stemming from a state investigation into the business activities and actions of CIF and related entities.

In separate indictments returned recently by state grand jurors, Pfeiffer was charged with criminal conspiracy, five counts of securities fraud, forgery, perjury and false swearing for his alleged involvement with CIF and related entities, court records show.

Last year, Pfeiffer and former CIF manager Arthur Field were indicted by a state grand jury on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and forgery related to the firm’s business activities, according to an indictment that was unsealed.

New charges against Pfeiffer added with indictments this week included commission of securities fraud and conspiracy with regard to the operations of Cosimo LLC, which served as the major re-lender of investor funds provided to CIF, according to prosecutors and court records.

The indictment also alleged forgery by use of a fictitious name to endorse a $1.15 million check from the South Carolina Department of Transportation for compensation in the condemnation of property, and perjury and false swearing regarding the fictitious name in two depositions from civil actions where CIF loans were involved, according to prosecutors and court records.

Pfeiffer and Field were friends, according to court records.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Field in May pleaded guilty to 11 counts of securities fraud, two of conspiracy and one of forgery — all of the charges against him. He also agreed to cooperate with investigators probing the firm, which sold promissory notes to investors.

Field, who is awaiting sentencing, faces up to 23 years in prison, prosecutors said. He has remained free on bond.

Pfeiffer was accused of participating in a pattern of fraud related to business entities of the two men and withholding key information from investors in written offers to sell securities, according to the earlier indictment.

Field and Pfeiffer were charged with two counts of conspiracy and multiple counts of securities fraud, according to the indictment. Field also was charged with forgery, according to the indictment.

The indictment last year alleged a pattern of deceit and fraud, including not disclosing in a prospectus to South Carolina investors that the president and chief executive officer of CIF’s parent company and a Capital Investment director had been removed from those entities for improper financial transactions with money that came primarily from Capital Investment, according to court records.

The indictment also alleged that Field and Pfeiffer hid Field’s true business interests in various entities from investors, his partners, the South Carolina Securities Division and others, according to court records.

Court records show a judge approved a mediated settlement agreement in which Field’s company acknowledged a judgment of nearly $38.5 million to several hundred noteholders and Field agreed to resign as the firm’s manager.

CIF, formed in 1999, made more than $105 million in loans to commercial borrowers, Field said in 2008.

That year, in anticipation of a recession, CIF’s directors declared a winding up in accordance with state law and the company’s operating agreement and prospectus.

Later that year, the Attorney General’s Office asked the State Law Enforcement Division to open a criminal investigation into CIF’s activities, saying “potential criminal conduct” occurred in several South Carolina counties and in Bergen County, N.J.