INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Former Vero Beach attorney Ira Hatch is expected to find out today if his criminal case will go to trial or if he will be set free when he appears beforeCircuit Judge Robert Hawley.
Hatch is due in court at 3 p.m. where the State Attorney’s Office will argue that it has the evidence needed to go to trial. Hatch’s defense will be asking to have the case dismissed because of lack of specific evidence of wrongdoing. The defense team has argued in court that the State Attorney’s Office has not provided enough information as to which transactions Hatch allegedly made resulting in the money laundering and grand theft charges he faces.
Hawley ruled on Sept. 30 the state needed to provide the defense with more concrete evidence of when the alleged illegal transactions took place. The case had to be postponed from the fall because of defense claims it could not properly get ready for the case.
“The state’s actions have hampered the defendant’s ability to prepare for trial and the court’s ability to try the case,” Hawley said in that ruling.
The state’s response, filed Dec. 4, doesn’t give the exact dates on which money was allegedly taken for unauthorized purposes. The prosecution says it is difficult to present the transactions with precision because Hatch co-mingled money for legal and illegal purposes.
Hatch has been sitting in the Indian River County jail since January 2008 on more than $3 million bond. He faces 57 felony charges that include 29 counts of third degree grand theft, 12 counts of second degree grand theft, 11 counts of grand theft, three counts of money laundering between $20,000 and $200,000, and one count each of operating as a money transmitter and felony racketeering, according to his arrest report.
In all, Hatch is accused of misusing $4.5 million of his clients’ money they had entrusted to his company, Coastal Escrow, which shut down n 2007.
What do you think? Will the judge set Ira Hatch free today? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.