Nam­var de­clines to en­ter plea

The judge agrees to de­lay it and sets bail at $300,000 for the real es­tate in­vestor.

Los Angeles Times - - California - Nathan Oli­varez-Giles nathan.oli­varezgiles @latimes.com

In­dicted real es­tate mogul Ezri Nam­var de­clined to en­ter a plea in his first court ap­pear­ance on fed­eral charges that he stole $23 mil­lion from clients.

Judge Paul Abrams post­poned the plea un­til Mon­day at the request of Nam­var’s at­tor­ney.

Abrams set bail at $300,000 for Nam­var, who amassed bil­lions of dol­lars in com­mer­cial real es­tate be­fore his firm was forced into in­vol­un­tary bank­ruptcy. The judge turned down a request from fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors that Nam­var’s move­ments be re­stricted mostly to his home.

In­stead, Abrams said that Nam­var could not travel out­side the court’s ju­ris­dic­tion, which runs from San Luis Obispo in the north through Orange County. Nam­var also was told to sur­ren­der his pass­port.

His at­tor­ney, Marc Har­ris, told the court, “He’s not go­ing any­where. He’s here to fight this case.”

Har­ris said Nam­var planned to post bail with the help of his fam­ily and with eq­uity from his Brent­wood home.

Nam­var, 59, stood be­hind a glass par­ti­tion dur­ing the hear­ing in U.S. District Court in Los An­ge­les. If found guilty on all counts, he could face a max­i­mum sen­ruptcy tence of 100 years in prison.

The in­dict­ment, which was is­sued last week, al­leges that Nam­var took clients’ funds that were sup­posed to be held in es­crow in one of his com­pa­nies and used them to pay in­vestors and cred­i­tors of an­other.

Sev­eral of his for­mer clients were on hand for the pro­ceed­ings.

“I am not happy to see him in hand­cuffs,” said Mas­soud Esh­moili after­ward. Esh­moili, a fab­ric whole­saler in Los An­ge­les, said he’d lost his life sav­ings to Nam­var.

“None of us re­ally want to see him in jail for the rest of his life,” he said. “We just want our money back.”

Like most of Nam­var’s for­mer clients, Esh­moili is part of Los An­ge­les’ Ira­nian Jewish com­mu­nity. Be­fore be­ing forced into bank- in 2008, Nam­var was a highly re­spected mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.

Abra­ham As­sil, a Los An­ge­les real es­tate in­vestor who said he had lost $6 mil­lion with Nam­var, said the com­mu­nity was com­ing to the aid of al­leged vic­tims.

“There are peo­ple who are liv­ing in garages, liv­ing in base­ments, be­cause they’ve lost ev­ery­thing to Ezri Nam­var,” As­sil said. “They aren’t go­ing on wel­fare, they aren’t look­ing for govern­ment help. They’re re­ly­ing on oth­ers in our com­mu­nity for help.

“We tried to solve these prob­lems in our com­mu­nity with Ezri first, but all it did was give him more time to rip us off.”

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