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The court case against the two Alberta men accused in what police allege was Canada's largest Ponzi scheme will likely take so long to complete that one of the men's lawyers is bowing out.

Milowe Brost and Gary Sorenson are charged with fraud and theft in connection with what is alleged to have been a scam that cost 4,000 investors up to $400-million. Their lawyers made a brief appearance at Provincial Court in Calgary Monday morning. The plea date for the two men was delayed until Dec. 14 in order to cope with the "sheer volume" of material, according to Mr. Sorenson's lawyer, Don MacLeod.

The preliminary inquiry alone could take three months, said Mr. MacLeod, who said Monday he is taking himself off the case because he doesn't have time to handle it.

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It would "serve neither the client's interests nor the administration of justice" for him to continue on, he told reporters outside court.

An agent also indicated to the court that Mr. Brost is looking for new legal representation.

A number of investors attended the court appearance.

Doreen Brown, who first invested in 2007 after what she says were promises of a 30 per cent return from a friend, told reporters outside court she would like to see charges laid against others who allegedly were part of the scheme.

The two men were arrested in September after RCMP charged each with theft and fraud over $5,000. Police allege a scheme that used education seminars to coax investors into channeling their money through a complicated web of companies into offshore mining investments. The seminars promised returns of up to 40 per cent, but the scheme was designed to benefit its founders, police allege.

The seminars operated across western Canada and throughout the United States.

The seminars allegedly operated across western Canada and throughout the United States. The scheme allegedly targeted people from all walks of life, including professional football players.

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Mr. Sorenson told the Calgary Herald that Merendon Mining Corporation Ltd., one of the companies police allege was at the centre of the scheme, is not fictitious. He predicted he would successfully defend himself against all charges.

Police arrested Mr. Brost Sept. 14. Mr. Sorenson was arrested Sept. 29, after flying back to Calgary on a private jet and surrendering to RCMP.

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Dawn Walton

Dawn Walton has been based in Calgary for The Globe and Mail since 2000. Before leaving Toronto to head West, she won a National Newspaper Award and was twice nominated for the Michener Award for her work with the Report on Business. More

Asia Bureau Chief

Nathan VanderKlippe is the Asia correspondent for The Globe and Mail. He was previously a print and television correspondent in Western Canada based in Calgary, Vancouver and Yellowknife, where he covered the energy industry, aboriginal issues and Canada’s north.He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award and a Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. More

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