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Japan Father, Son Win Release Before US Trial In Ponzi Case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge decided a father and son from Japan can be freed from federal custody to live with relatives in a rented apartment in Las Vegas pending trial in what prosecutors call a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach acknowledged a federal prosecutor's argument Wednesday that former MRI International Inc. executives Junzo Suzuki and his son, Paul Suzuki, had the money to flee the country before trial. They could face the rest of their lives in prison if they're convicted.

Ferenbach also was told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could deport the two men if they're freed.

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But the judge said that wouldn't make sense after 70-year-old Junzo Suzuki and 40-year-old Paul Suzuki were extradited from Japan to the U.S. They arrived in custody last week.