Spokane developer Gregory D. Jeffreys has talked himself out of freedom, a judge ruled today.
Citing his multiple violations of another judge’s order and a previously undisclosed threat made to a business associate, U.S. District Judge Rosanna Peterson ruled that Jeffreys must remain in jail during the months leading up to his January trial on charges that he defrauded millions of dollars from investors.
Jeffreys, 53, argued through his attorney that he simply uses gruff language picked up from years of working in the construction industry. He contends he’s not a threat.
“It’s our position that this is a character assassination based on stale events by adversaries of Mr. and Mrs. Jeffreys,” defense attorney Mark Vovos said. “If you look at the exhibits we filed, he has a foul mouth, frankly.”
Judge Peterson said she did not consider it a true threat when Jeffreys said on a tape-recorded telephone conversation at the Spokane County Jail that he would “bury” FBI special agent Lisa Jangaard.
However, Peterson said she concluded he must remain in jail after he showed “disregard” when he contacted co-defendants and witnesses after his arrest. She also found credible another allegation that he threatened to harm a former business associate and his children.
Jangaard said in court today that a witness relayed that threat, allegedly made by Jeffreys in October 2010. Jangaard said a witness heard Jeffreys say he wanted to physically harm Dave Largent and his children. The statement “concerned (the witness) very much,” Jangaard said.
Contacted by phone today, Largent said he was not aware of any alleged threats against him by Jeffreys.
“I’m well aware that (Jeffreys) doesn’t like me,” said Largent, whose investor group had majority ownership of West Plains land that Jeffreys developed. “It’s definitely concerning.”
Jeffreys is charged in the case that also names his wife, Kimberly Jeffreys, 53, and his 51-year-old girlfriend, Shannon Stiltner. Their trials have been set for Jan. 6.
Kimberly Jeffreys faces 25 counts and Stiltner faces 29 counts mostly of wire, bank fraud and money laundering charges. Both have posted bond but only Kimberly Jeffreys attended the Monday hearing as a spectator.
Authorities allege Jeffreys and Stiltner essentially operated a Ponzi scheme that relied on forged documents to solicit investments for several buildings in San Francisco, Coeur d’Alene, Denver and Mullan, Idaho, that didn’t exist.
In addition to the fraud case, Greg Jeffreys also faces a single count of possession of a sawed-off shotgun that was found in the 10,000 square-foot home he built in the Northwood neighborhood.
Vovos said that is where he would stay if he is released. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean McLaughlin said the house is under foreclosure proceedings.
Vovos agreed, but said he expected that legal action to take a year “regardless of what happens.”
The defense attorney submitted several letters from Jeffreys’ friends and family explaining his rough language.
“Greg has quite a repertoire of slang terms that include … ‘You suck,’ ‘I’m going to stomp you,’ ‘I’m going to take you out,’ etc.,” wrote Catherine Julien. “It may not be politically correct but that is how he has always expressed himself.”
McLaughlin said investigators have provided ample evidence to show that he has no reason to stay in Spokane if released.
“This is the third time we have litigated this matter,” McLauglin said. “Over and over and over again, the defendant has shown disregard for Judge Imbrogno’s orders. His actions after his arrest just boggle the mind.”