SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former U.S. Navy SEAL accused of stealing more than $1.1 million from fellow SEALS and others who invested in his money-lending business must stand trial on 30 charges, including grand theft and securities violations, a judge ruled Monday.
Jason Matthew Mullaney faces up to 34 years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Hector Jimenez.
The prosecutor alleged that Mullaney, 41, used his standing as a former SEAL to get others to invest in his Trident Financial Holdings & Acquisitions, then transferred the money into his own bank accounts for personal gain and to enhance his lifestyle.
The alleged victims include former and active SEALs, the prosecutor said.
District Attorney Investigator Micheal Brown testified during a daylong preliminary hearing that he interviewed 11 people who said they gave Mullaney a total of more than $1.1 million to invest in short-term loans with a promised 24 percent return, but never got their money back.
The investors said the defendant told them he had secured collateral from the borrower -- such as titles to luxury cars -- as insurance in case the borrower failed to repay the loan, Brown testified.
One former SEAL who invested $40,000 with Mullaney said the defendant offered him a handgun when he didn't pay him back.
"He (the alleged victim) said he trusted him (the defendant)," Brown testified.
Some of the alleged victims told Brown they thought Mullaney was very successful because he had a downtown loft and several luxury cars, the witness testified.
Steven Elias, who has been a SEAL for 32 years, testified that Mullaney helped him buy and sell an investment property in Coronado, but never sent him the anticipated $345,000 profit from the sale.
Elias said Mullaney made frequent trips to Las Vegas and once lost $70,000 while gambling.
According to court testimony, Mullaney failed to report thousands of dollars of income on his state tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Superior Court Judge Frederic Link ruled that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing for Mullaney to stand trial. The defendant -- held on $2 million bail -- will be back in court Dec. 10.