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Thursday, August 11, 2022


Territorial Court Judge Soraya Diase has recused herself from the embezzlement trial of St. Thomas travel agent Lydia Magras over her husband's business dealings with the accused's former company.
Diase's husband, Gordon Coffelt, was a director and investor in Travel Time travel agency, which had been involved in a dispute with Magras' now-defunct Bon Voyage travel agency over a $2,500 reimbursement.
Diase removed herself despite arguments by the lead prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Douglas Sprotte, that her husband was primarily an investor in Travel Time and not involved in its day-to-day operations.
He also argued that Margas has known since 1995 that Diase is married to Coffelt.
Last week, Diase accused defense attorney Treston Moore of attempting to stall the trial; her recusal, however, will likely delay the trial further because the case will have to be assigned to another judge, who will have to take some time to review it.
Magras is charged in connection with the embezzlement of $1.7 million from Little Switzerland. Bon Voyage Travel is the company through which the government alleges Magras and Little Switzerland employee Lorraine Quetel, who has since pleaded guilty to the charges against her in a plea agreement with the government, attempted to launder the money.

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