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From Antitrust Law Daily, October 13, 2016

Trial delayed in U.S. suit against heir location service for allocating customers

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

The federal district court in Salt Lake City has postponed a jury trial in a Department of Justice Antitrust Division action against an heir location services provider and its co-owner for participating in a conspiracy to allocate customers. Kemp & Associates Inc. and its co-owner and vice president, Daniel J. Mannix, were charged by way of a one-count indictment in August. A two-week trial had been set to begin on November 28. However, the court agreed with the defendants that it would be unreasonable to expect the defense to be ready for trial so soon, given the voluminous amount of discovery and the complex nature of the case. The government stipulated to the motion to continue the trial date, and the court reset the trial for July 3, 2017 (U.S. v. Kemp & Associates Inc., October 12, 2016, Sam, D.).

The defense needed at least an additional 210 days beyond November 28 to review the discovery material and conduct additional defense investigation, according to the court. The government had already produced over 192,000 pages of discovery, totaling over 14.4 gigabytes of records. As a result, the defendants could not review these records within the time limitations of the Speedy Trial Act, which requires trial to commence within 70 days of an appearance in response to an indictment. The defendants agreed that the time between this motion and the newly set trial date would be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act.

Kemp & Associates Inc. and Mannix were charged with participating in the customer allocation conspiracy from September 1999 until January 2014. Heir location firms identify people who may be entitled to an inheritance from the estate of someone who died without a will. The heir location firms then enter into agreements with those people to help secure their inheritances in exchange for a fee.

The indictment did not identify the other company and the other individuals who allegedly conspired with Kemp and Mannix, and the government announced at that time that the investigation was ongoing. In addition to Kemp and Mannix, a California-based heir location services provider and the company's president, as well as the owner of a Massachusetts-based heir location services provider have been charged with allocating heir location services customers.

In December 2015, California-based Brandenburger & Davis and the company’s president Bradley N. Davis were charged with similar conduct. These defendants agreed to pay an $890,000 fine for their role in the alleged conspiracy between November 2003 and August 2012.

Richard A. Blake Jr., the other individual named in the probe, was charged in January 2016. He has agreed to plead guilty to engaging in a customer allocation conspiracy from September 1999 and January 2014. That is the same time period in which Kemp and Mannix purportedly engaged in the conspiracy.

The case is No. 2:16-cr-00403-DS.

Attorneys: Jacob J. Strain, U.S. Attorney's Office, for the United States. Mark R. Gaylord, Jason D. Boren, James A. Mitchell, and Michael J. Grudberg (Ballard Spahr LLP) for Kemp & Associates, Inc. Richard F. Albert and Miriam Glaser (Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, P.C.) for Daniel J. Mannix.

Companies: Kemp & Associates Inc.; Brandenburger & Davis

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust AntitrustDivisionNews UtahNews

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