December 8, 2016
In an unusual move, a Fresno County judge has not only dismissed fraud charges against a Sanger lawyer, but apologized to him for a nearly three-year legal ordeal during which his wife died and he was disbarred.
In dismissing charges against Sheldon Feigel, Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin dealt a major blow to a high-profile California Department of Justice investigation. State officials accused Feigel, 53, and Fresno lawyer Craig Mortensen, 63, of engaging in a housing scheme that led to the fraudulent seizure of two dozen homes in several counties, including Fresno County.
On Wednesday, Hamlin granted the prosecution’s motion to dismiss the case against Feigel with prejudice, meaning charges can’t be refiled against Feigel.
“Honestly, as I look at this case, I am puzzled as to how you were ever charged in this case and I’m disturbed by everything I’ve read about this case and how you and your family were treated in this case,” Hamlin told Feigel. “And since you won’t get the apology from the attorney general or the Department of Justice, on their behalf I’ll apologize for them.”
But Hamlin said Mortensen will stand trial on 94 fraud charges.