Japanese man, son to be held before US trial in Ponzi case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal judge reversed a magistrate’s decision and ordered a father and son from Japan to remain jailed pending trial on fraud charges in what prosecutors call a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme.

Attorney Richard Wright, representing former MRI International Inc. executives Junzo Suzuki and his son, Paul Suzuki, declined Thursday to comment about U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s decision on Tuesday to keep his clients in federal custody. Trial is scheduled next month.

Federal prosecutors argue the Suzukis have the money and motive to flee before trial because they face possibly spending the rest of their lives in U.S. prison.

The 70-year-old father and 40-year-old son were arrested in Japan and transferred to the U.S. last month.

They’ve pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

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