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LDS Church being sued for tithing paid by suspected fraudster

Published: Friday, Aug. 6 2010 12:49 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A man charged with recovering money lost in a securities fraud scheme is now asking the LDS Church to return tithing that was paid by the man accused of running the scheme.

Lon A. Jenkins, the court-appointed receiver for Robert Casey Hall and all of the companies he established, filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday asking that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints return more than $160,000 that Hall paid in tithing.

In the lawsuit, Jenkins said his appointment allows him to take control of all of the assets of Hall's company, RCH2, including taking court action to recover those assets.

He states that between April 2006 and April 2007, RCH2 advertised itself as a business consulting company that specialized in "helping clients generate cash flow." In the lawsuit, Jenkins claims it was actually a Ponzi scheme that guaranteed returns of 10 to 15 percent to investors who were told their money was going to "low-risk" ventures such as real-estate.

Jenkins states the company raked in more than $27 million and Hall paid tithing on the money six separate times.

Jenkins is now suing for damages totaling at least as much as the $160,306 he knows was paid to the LDS Church, stating that "the above-identified transfers to the church were made to the detriment of other creditors seeking repayment of their investments in RCH2."

The church was previously sued for tithing money paid in a similar case involving Val E. Southwick, who perpetrated what is regarded as one of Utah's largest financial fraud schemes. In that case, the church returned an undisclosed amount of money in an out-of-court settlement.

Both in reference to the prior case and Jenkin's suit, church spokesman Scott Trotter told media outlets that "the (LDS) Church has a long-standing policy of not profiting from alleged ill-gotten gains."

e-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

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