Michael Whitmore Erb, the Stockton man accused of using a Calaveras County parcel in a land swindle, was arrested again on more charges following a Tuesday afternoon appearance in Calaveras County Superior Court.
Originally scheduled as an arraignment, the proceeding was postponed until March 22 to give court officials time to review the defense attorney´s motion to have the charges dismissed.
Erb, 61, faces about 25 counts in Calaveras County for using a parcel near Toyon Middle School as security against loans he received from several people, telling them he was developing a business park at the site.
The incidents allegedly occurred between May 6, 1993, and Oct. 30, 2000.
A Jan. 25 arraignment was continued when defense attorney Christopher J. Cannon filed a motion to have the charges dismissed because the statute of limitations had run out on them.
The prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Robert Morgester, later filed an amended complaint, which included the new charges.
That, too, is being challenged by Cannon, who said the new complaint had the same flaws as the previous one.
Visiting Judge Don Howard continued Tuesday´s arraignment to give Cannon time to file the motion and for Morgester to reply to it.
Shortly after Erb left the courtroom, he was taken into custody by Debra Jackson, a special agent for the state Department of Justice, on 18 similar charges out of San Joaquin County.
Morgester has argued that the statute of limitations did not apply to the counts since the outstanding loans represented continuing offenses.
The prosecutor added that even while Erb was in custody in the Calaveras County Jail, he was still contacting clients, telling them he was on vacation.
“This is an ongoing criminal enterprise,” Morgester said.
Calaveras County authorities recovered contraband in the form of financial documents from Erb´s cell, Morgester said. They also recorded some of his telephone calls.
That material is scheduled to be reviewed by a third party to determine what might be considered privileged documents between Erb and his attorneys.
Reprinted with permission from the Calaveras Enterprise.
By Craig Koscho