January 17, 2018 11:20 PM
Four men are standing trial in federal court in Minneapolis after being charged with conspiring to steal more than $20 million from Eden-Prairie-based Starkey Laboratories Inc. and it's principal owner.
The defendants - Jerome Ruzicka, Larry Miller, Jeffrey Taylor and Lawrence Hagen - are all facing criminal charges.
Federal prosecutors began by laying the foundation for a case they describe as a "massive and long-running" fraud scheme, aimed at embezzling from the hearing aid manufacturer.
Prosecutors argued that Ruzicka, the former president of Starkey Laboratories, abused his power to steal from the company and its employees.
Ruzicka's attorney argued back during opening statements, saying that his client did not commit fraud, but helped save the company from bankruptcy.
After opening statements from the other three defendants' lawyers, the state called two Starkey Laboratories' employees to testify. Both explained they had conversations about Ruzicka leaving the company in the summer of 2015.
Ruzicka was fired in September of that year, according to the company.
Prosecutors are expected to call former chief financial officer Scott Nelson during the trial. Nelson was indicted on similar charges with the four defendants in 2017, but last month plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in U.S. District Court.
Updated: January 17, 2018 11:20 PM
Created: January 17, 2018 06:01 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company