Principal Services president on trial in San José courtroom

Elwyn Ralph Jacobs, the former president of Principal Services S.A., is on trial in a San José court. The case is expected to continue until Sept. 17.

Jacobs is one of two men who had been sought on fraud allegations related to the high interest firm. Jacobs is in his 80s, but one investor denies he had a passive role in the company. He signed the introductory letter back in 2000, and he signed the promissory notes to repay the investments, said one Canadian investor who is in town to testify.

Not on trial is Gerard Latulippe, who also had been arrested in the United States. He is reported to be ill.

Principal closed its doors in March 2003. Investors had been promised a 4 percent monthly return on investments. They were told that their money would be used for venture capital projects. Some investors had put more than $1 million in the business.

A salesman, Michael James Forrest, was acquitted in an earlier trial in which a judicial panel placed the bulk of the blame on the company and its officers.

The Principal case dragged on, in part because the English translations of arrest warrants issued here were faulty. That delayed the extradition process.

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