Steve Bachar, a disgraced businessman and disbarred lawyer, is expected to admit Monday that he stole money from a friend — an admission that will likely send him to prison.
Bachar, 57, has agreed to plead guilty to felony theft and pay restitution of $182,808, according to court documents that his lawyer filed last week. In exchange, the Denver District Attorney’s Office will drop a more serious theft charge and one count of securities fraud.
The charge that he will plead guilty to carries a possible prison term of two to six years. Sentencing will be decided by Judge Eric Johnson, who rejected a plea deal in March because it would have allowed Bachar to avoid prison time. He called that deal “contrary to justice.”
“Many in our community steal much less and go to prison or to jail,” Johnson said then.
Bachar is accused of stealing $125,000 from former friend Jamie Lindsay, a North Carolina man, by convincing him to invest in a company called Empowerment Capital and then running off with Lindsay’s money. Bachar admitted doing that last November under the plea agreement but then rescinded his guilty plea after Johnson rejected the agreement in March.
A four-day trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 26. A guilty plea Monday would cancel that.
In addition to Bachar’s sentence, Johnson must also decide what to do with a check worth $174,370 that has been the source of legal debates for six months.
Bachar handed the check to the Denver District Court in March, with the understanding that it would go to Lindsay for restitution as part of his plea deal. When that plea deal fell apart, Johnson ordered the money to be returned to Bachar. But before it could be, two companies and two people who are owed money by Bachar tried to garnish that $174,370.
After court hearings and considerable debate, Denver District Court Judge Kandace Gerdes ruled that the money must be divided among those four who tried to garnish it. But last week, both Bachar and the Denver District Attorney’s Office asked Johnson not to release the cash, since they expect it will now be needed to pay restitution to Lindsay on Monday.
“Mr. Bachar will have to make restitution in this case twice” if the check is released to those he owes money to, Bachar attorney Robert Swestka wrote Sept. 13, “which would violate his constitutional rights to due process and his protection against double jeopardy.”
In a separate filing that same day, Associate Deputy District Attorney Ashley Beck asked Johnson to prioritize Lindsay over the other people or companies that Bachar is indebted to, “consistent with the original intent of the parties and in the interest of justice.”