ST. GEORGE — Federal prosecutors want convicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson to return more than $600,000 — in addition to spending several years behind bars.
Prosecutors contend Johnson received $603,543 in credit card payments from merchant accounts that they alleged Johnson fraudulently set up through various shell companies, according to a motion filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday.
Johnson and others from I Works were accused of conspiring to defraud Wells Fargo Bank by submitting applications for new accounts using the names and personal information of employees and family members.
That was done, the government alleged, to cover up that I Works had been flagged on a bad-merchants list for incurring a large number of chargebacks and was trying to conceal that it was behind new account applications.
A jury convicted Johnson in March in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court on eight counts of making false statements to a bank. It acquitted Johnson, who served as his own attorney during the trial, of 78 other charges, including those of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
Pinpointing actual losses in the case is “difficult if not impossible,” the government said in its sentencing memorandum to the court. But to say there were none would be false, the government added.
Prosecutors calculated under federal sentencing guidelines that Johnson could spend as long as 34 years in prison, according to a U.S. attorney’s office court filing. However, they recommend his term be not less than 14 years and no more than 17 ½ years.
Johnson, who is challenging his conviction, remains in jail pending a sentencing hearing rescheduled for July 29.
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