Trial off till Sept. in $800M Mutual Benefits case

Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-07 05:42:35-05

MIAMI (AP) - Trial in one of South Florida's biggest and longest-running fraud cases has been delayed until September because of competency issues regarding the lead defendant.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola set a Sept. 9 trial date in Mutual Benefits case. Four men accused of fraud and other crimes had been scheduled to go to trial next month. First, a competency hearing will be held in May for lead defendant Joel Steinger, who suffers from serious medical problems.

Prosecutors say Mutual Benefits was a massive fraud scheme in which some 34,000 investors lost more than $800 million between 1994 and 2004.

The now-defunct company bought life insurance policies from people with AIDS, cancer and other chronic illnesses and sold them to investors. The investors would get paid when the original policyholders died.