Plea withdrawal denied in Navy SEAL investment scam case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Plea withdrawal denied in Navy SEAL investment scam case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A judge Wednesday denied a plea withdrawal motion brought by a former U.S. Navy SEAL who admitted stealing more than $1 million from 11 active and retired SEALs and a family friend in an investment scam.

Jason Matthew Mullaney, 43, pleaded guilty last September to three counts of grand theft and one count of securities fraud. A month later, Mullaney told Judge Frederick Maguire that he wanted to withdraw his plea, claiming he was misled about the consequences of the plea by defense attorney Michael Crowley.

In court Wednesday, Mullaney testified that he didn't fully understand that the judge, at the time of sentencing, could consider all of the counts filed against him.

As part of the plea agreement, Mullaney agreed to a minimum sentence of six years and eight months, and no more than 12 years and eight months, behind bars.

Deputy District Attorney Hector Jimenez told the judge that Mullaney made the withdrawal motion because he doesn't like his potential sentence, adding that it will be a "miracle" if Mullaney's victims are paid back.

The judge, in denying the defendant's motion, said Mullaney's case was a "tale of two cities," one involving the defendant in court and the other involving what Mullaney said happened with Crowley.

Maguire noted that Mullaney "surprised" him by offering to plead guilty as trial approached.

The judge said he took his time with Mullaney's change of plea because he feared the ex-SEAL might do something like try to withdraw the plea.

"I told you, no buyer's remorse," Maguire told the defendant, noting that Mullaney entered the plea "freely and voluntarily."

A sentencing hearing was set for March 17. Defense attorney Patrick Dudley told the judge he would look into the possibility of appealing the decision to a higher court.

At an earlier hearing, Jimenez said Mullaney used his SEAL status to get fellow SEALs and the family friend to invest in his money-lending business, Trident Financial Holdings and Acquisitions, then transferred the money into his personal bank accounts for his own use.

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