KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A federal court jury which deliberated for one hour Thursday found Tylenol extortion suspect James Lewis guilty on all six counts of mail fraud involving a 1981 credit card scheme.
The seven-man, five-woman jury came in with the verdict about 2 p.m. CDT.
U.S. District Judge Ross T. Roberts ordered a pre-sentencing investigation. When he receives the report in about one month, he will hand down the sentence, which could be a maximum of five years in prison and a $1,000 fine on each count.
Lewis' attorney, Willard B. Bunch said 'there is no question' that the case will be appealed.
Bunch also said he will ask for a delay in the tax fraud trial, which is set for June 1.
He also faces a July 25 trial in Chicago on allegations he attempted to extort $1 million from the makers of Tylenol following the deaths last fall of seven people who took cyanide-laced capsules of the pain-reliever.
In the credit card scheme, the 36-year-old former Kansas Citian was accused of using the U.S. Mail to obtain 13 credit cards on the name and background of his former tax client John E. Ryan.
Only one witness testified in Lewis' defense in the mail fraud trial that began Monday. The government called 10 witnesses, including an alleged accomplice in the credit card scheme.
In closing arguments Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Larsen pointed to the testimony of George Rea, who said Lewis and he devised a credit card scheme in Kansas City to make money for a larger fraud plan in St. Louis.
Larsen admitted Rea was a convicted felon, but said that the government provided documented evidence to substantiate Rea's testimony.
The government granted Rea immunity from charges in exchange for testimony against Lewis.
Defense attorney Willard B. Bunch, in his closing arguments, alleged Rea was the perpetrator of the scheme.
'This man (Rea) should have been an offender, not a witness,' Bunch said. 'You don't have to believe a man who admits he's a liar. He cut a deal, he's a felon.' Bunch's only witness, a handwriting analyst, testified it was Rea who forged the signature of Ryan on the six applications for charge accounts named in the indictment against Lewis. The government's handwriting expert told the jury he could not conclude that Lewis filled out and signed those applications. However, he did testify it was Lewis' handwriting on a receipt charging merchandise to one of the credit cards.