Judge orders Jeremy Johnson behind bars until sentencing

Jeremy Johnson | AP file photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson will not be going home, a judge ruled Friday in Salt Lake City’s federal court.

Deeming Johnson a potential flight risk, U.S. District Judge David Nuffer ordered Johnson to jail pending sentencing on convictions of eight counts of providing false information to a bank.

Facing 86 felony counts, Johnson was convicted by a jury last week of eight charges but was found not guilty of 78 fraud-related charges.

Before Friday, Johnson had remained free with a GPS ankle monitor following the verdict.

Johnson faces a maximum of up to 30 years in federal prison on each of the eight charges. He is set to be sentenced June 20 where the government and defense counsel are expected to argue what the federal sentencing guidelines are for his convictions.

READ MOREJury reaches verdict in Jeremy Johnson bank fraud trial

Johnson represented himself during the six-week trial, but attorney Greg Skordas, one of Johnson’s previous court-appointed attorneys, has been appointed to represent him through sentencing.

In a motion to the court filed Thursday, Skordas argued that the charges Johnson was convicted of carry no implication that he had intended to defraud Wells Fargo Bank, that the bank suffered no losses and there was no evidence the bank was influenced by any false statements.

Skordas said in the motion that it is unclear that the sentencing guidelines would mandate any term of imprisonment.

In a letter to Judge Nuffer Thursday, Chou Chou Collins, of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, said Johnson is an important witness who has been cooperating with the investigation and prosecution in the public corruption case of former-Utah attorney general John Swallow.

Collins asked Judge Nuffer to consider letting Johnson remain free until sentencing, stating it would be more difficult to continue meeting with Johnson if Johnson is incarcerated, according to court documents.

Nuffer disagreed, ordering Johnson jailed while allowing one of Johnson’s co-defendants, Ryan Riddle, to remain free from jail pending sentencing. Riddle was found guilty last week on six charges of making false statements to a bank.

The jury cleared a third defendant, Johnson’s business accountant Scott Leavitt, of all 86 charges against him.

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1 Comment

  • ladybugavenger April 1, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    That’s nice to hear

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