Ex-Erie trustee guilty of four felonies

Date: 2008-12-12

Daily Times-Call, The (Longmont, CO)
Author: Pierrette J. Shields , Longmont Times-Call

BOULDER — A Boulder County jury on Thursday convicted a former Erie trustee of four felonies in a case in which she was accused of bilking clients of her Boulder-based adoption firm out of thousands of dollars.

The Boulder County District Attorney's Office had filed 10 charges against Lisa Novak, including eight felony thefts, one misdemeanor theft and one felony check fraud.

A jury of three men and nine women convicted Novak of two counts of theft of $20,000 or more, theft between $1,000 and $20,000, and fraud by check.

The jury found her not guilty on the remaining counts.

Novak, who now lives out of state, is set to be sentenced Jan. 23.

The jury deliberated from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday afternoon in the complicated financial case against Novak, who headed the Claar Foundation, which specialized in arranging international adoptions.

Prosecutors accused her of taking payments from clients and then failing to arrange for the adoptions. Lance Goff, Novak's defense attorney, said in opening statements that adoptions are risky and complex, and payments to the Claar Foundation did not guarantee completion of adoptions.

Novak served as an Erie trustee from October 2003 until January 2005, when she resigned to focus on the Claar Foundation.

Prosecutors and Novak declined to comment on the jury's verdict Thursday afternoon.

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