Saturday, May 24, 2008

Claar Foundation Story ~ Four Felony Counts

Judge: Lisa Novak case can proceed to trial
By Heath Urie (Contact) Saturday, May 24, 2008

Prosecutors have sufficient evidence to criminally charge the former CEO of a Boulder-based international adoption agency who is accused of stealing money from prospective parents, Boulder County Court Judge Carolyn Hoye Enichen ruled Friday.

Police arrested Lisa Novak, a former Erie trustee, in April and she subsequently was charged with two counts of felony theft and one count of felony fraud in connection with her work for the Claar Foundation, a now-defunct agency.

Monday, Boulder prosecutors added a fourth felony charge against Novak, alleging she stole more than $20,000 from another former client.

She was in court Friday to continue a preliminary hearing that began earlier this week. Novak’s attorney, Lance Goff, tried to convince the judge that his client didn’t take any money, and repeatedly said she should not be liable for the actions of her former company.

“Lisa Novak did not knowingly take anything,” Goff said, calling the case more about a “business failure.”

In ruling prosecutors have sufficient evidence to proceed with the case, Enichen warned Novak that she cannot “hide behind a corporate shield.”

“There was no evidence presented, none at all,” that the disputed money paid to Novak went toward the adoption of a child, Enichen said.

Boulder police Detective Jeff Kithcart testified Friday — for the second time this week — that he didn’t have any evidence that Novak personally received any of the money, although the investigation is still ongoing.

“At this point, it’s a mystery where all the money that these people have paid has gone to,” Kithcart said.

Jaspal Singh, one of the prosecution witnesses, said at the hearing earlier this week that Novak took at least $25,000 in fees for an adoption that fell through because she misfiled paperwork. Singh also said Novak urged him and his wife, Linda, to falsify a document to increase their odds of success as they tried to adopt their second child from Guatemala.

Novak, who did not want to comment after Friday’s hearing, is due back in court for an arraignment June 20.

She also is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on the additional theft charge June 16.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Heath Urie at 303-473-1328 or

There are several more stories about Lisa Novak on Google News concerning this preliminary hearing.

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