Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2001 | 8:42 a.m.
District Judge Michael Douglas on Tuesday ordered defense attorneys for scam-artist suspect Franklyn Perry to meet with their client in an attempt to resolve difficulties the attorneys are having him.
Perry in April is scheduled to go to trial to face 48 sex-related charges, but he is also a suspect in a Ponzi scheme that authorities say resulted in about 1,000 people being scammed out of more than $40 million.
Metro Police seized $22 million from Perry, and District Judge Mark Denton appointed three special masters to manage the money after several lawsuits were filed laying claim.
Perry and some of his investors claim Metro unlawfully seized the funds, while other investors have filed fraud lawsuits against Perry.
In the sex case, authorities believe Perry convinced a 12-year-old girl to pose for sexually explicit photographs and arrange for them to be delivered to him. He also is accused of convincing her to engage in sex acts while on the phone with him.
Defense attorneys Mace Yampolsky and Garrett Ogata were appointed to represent Perry in the sex case in October after Perry's original attorney, Barry Levinson, asked to be removed.
Now Yampolsky and Ogata are also asking to be replaced. According to a motion filed with Douglas, their relationship with Perry has suffered because Perry has been discussing his situation with other attorneys.
Perry told Douglas Tuesday morning that Levinson has been "harassing" him and it was Levinson's idea to file the lawsuit against Metro. Perry said he apologized to Yampolsky and Ogata and would like them to remain on the case.
Ogata said he believes Perry has been discussing his case with people other than Levinson.
Douglas told Perry that there can only be one "captain" involved in his case and it should be his criminal defense attorneys. The judge then told Ogata that he and Yampolsky should meet with Perry in an attempt to repair the relationship.
Douglas scheduled a status hearing for Thursday on the matter.
Levinson, who was retained by Perry, said he withdrew from the case because Perry wouldn't take his advice.
"He's the one who was bugging me to initiate the class action lawsuit," Levinson said. "He was calling me and bugging me. Once a con always a con."
Levinson said he doesn't want anything more to do with Perry.
Prosecutors continue to work on putting together a fraud case against Perry. Once completed, they intend to present it to either a grand jury or to a magistrate during a preliminary hearing.
Police allege that Perry told investors he was loaning money to high-roller gamblers who had hit their credit limits at area casinos.
Police said Perry would pay some investors a few hundred dollars a week, saying the payments were returns on the money they had loaned him. The weekly payoffs often convinced others to buy into the scheme, which required a minimum buy-in of $10,000.