Las Vegas Sun

August 24, 2019

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Hypnotist may face new trial for fraud

The Nevada attorney general's office is deciding whether to retry hypnotist Marshall Sylver on fraud charges after a district judge declared a mistrial in his case on Friday.

District Judge Valorie Vega declared a mistrial after jurors acknowledged they could not come to a unanimous verdict on whether the Strip headliner was guilty of multiple fraud charges, court officials said.

Jurors had deliberated about four days.

"We'll take a look at the entire case and make the decision on whether to retry," Tom Sargent, spokesman for the attorney general's office, said this morning.

"We are very aggressive about these consumer protection cases. So it's very likely that we will retry."

Sylver's attorney, Dominic Gentile, said that he would defend Sylver again.

Sargent said Vega declared the mistrial after two jurors would not go along with the other 10 jurors, who wanted to convict Sylver. Gentile said three to six jurors did not want to convict Sylver on six of the counts.

While mistrials in criminal fraud cases are rare, they do happen, Sargent said.

"They are not common. But they're probably more common than we would like," he said.

Sylver was being tried after he charged consumers between $4,500 and $6,500 for a 3 1/2 day seminar and 10 weeks of mentoring designed to train them in the characteristics needed to become a millionaire.

Prosecutors Tracey Brierly and Gerald Gardner said Sylver knowingly committed fraud when he charged consumers between $4,500 and $6,500 for the mentorship program.

The program promised consumers that they would double their investment or get their money back. None of the participants ever received a refund.

During the two-week trial, several of the alleged victims testified that they were never given a clear list of what was expected of them and their mentors were not knowledgeable in business, as promised.

Gentile had argued that the alleged victims were not entitled to a refund because they did not do their part in the program.

He said several of the students had not completed homework assignments or did not complete them satisfactorily.