U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino agreed with defense counsel after studying court records that the Speedy Trial Act was violated and that the defendants did not come to trial within court deadlines.
Bryon Arthur Frisch, 38, and Kristian Giordano, 38, worked out of their La Jolla offices when they were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 30, 2013. Attorneys Kasra Sadr, 45, and Brenda Merriles, 45, also had all charges dismissed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office opposed the dismissal, saying defense counsel repeatedly sought trial delays for 2½ years after prosecutors provided more than 66,000 pages of information.
Attorneys for the four defendants cite an instance before another judge in which they requested a trial date be set and the judge declined to do so, saying the case was not yet ready for trial.
A trial date had been set for May 2, 2016, but Sammartino said one had not been set earlier as required by the Speedy Trial Act. Defense counsel said the charges were filed just one day before the statute of limitations expired.
The defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, eight counts of mail fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud. They were alleged to have caused life insurance companies to issue more than $50 million worth of policies to unqualified applicants.
The life insurance applications were alleged to be false because the net worth and source of income were not stated correctly by applicants, according to the U.S. Attorney’s press release in 2013.