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TEXARKANA, Texas — Proceedings in a criminal fraud case pending against a Maud, Texas, couple at a federal court in Georgia are on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Thompson, 46, and his wife, April Thompson, 41, are accused of bilking a timber investment company of more than $4 million over an eight-year period. Georgia-based Forest Investment Associates is suing the couple in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas and they are facing criminal charges in the Northern District of Georgia.

The couple was arrested Oct. 1 in connection with an 11-count indictment pending in Georgia accusing them of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and specific incidences of mail fraud in their dealings with FIA.

Amid concern that the Thompsons were liquidating assets and squandering funds allegedly stolen from FIA, a receiver was appointed in the civil case to oversee and manage the Thompsons finances by U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in the civil case. Last year Schroeder ordered the Thompsons to pay more than $17,000 in attorney fees to FIA as the result of a contempt motion FIA filed complaining of the Thompson's lavish spending and sale of assets despite a court order prohibiting such.

The receiver, Randy Moore of Texarkana, received a green light in December to shutter the couple's trucking and racing businesses and take steps to satisfy their creditors. In the same month, Schroeder issued an order halting the civil lawsuit against the Thompsons until they have either entered into plea agreements with the government or had their cases resolved through a jury trial.

An order issued by the chief judge of the Northern District of Georgia this week puts the brakes on the criminal case until at least May 15 and suspends the accused's right to a speedy trial because of the global pandemic.

The Thompsons remain free on unsecured appearance bonds.

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