Four Orange County men accused of defrauding 400 clients out of about $2 million through a Newport Beach precious metals investment firm entered not guilty pleas to 32 mail-fraud charges Monday in Los Angeles federal court.
A fifth defendant, who is from New York, also pleaded not guilty to the 32 charges; a sixth defendant remains a fugitive.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Friday charges the six with fraud stemming from their involvement with Intech Investment Corp. According to the indictment, clients across the country sent Intech checks and precious metals to open credit accounts to buy gold, silver and other metals.
The defendants promised clients huge profits but refused to give them back their money when they tried to close their accounts, according to the indictment.
Chief U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real set a trial date of Jan. 12, 1988, for Matthew A. Valentine, 27, of Newport Beach; Robert G. Canfield, 31, of Costa Mesa; Mark E. Rattet, 28, of Costa Mesa, and James G. Eglitis, 40, of Newport Beach.
Marc H. Guest, of New York City surrendered Monday and was ordered held without bail. Richard R. Johnson of Eugene, Ore., remained at large.
Valentine and Rattet are also being held without bail at the request of the government prosecutor.