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Man shot at Oquirrh Mountain Mormon temple was accused of real estate scam

Published: Thursday, Dec. 30 2010 8:30 a.m. MST

South Jordan Police investigate a fatal shooting at the LDS Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan, Utah, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SOUTH JORDAN — The man police fatally shot at the LDS Church's Oquirrh Mountain Temple on Christmas Day was the target of a lawsuit that accused him of participating in a real estate scam.

Daniel Pogue, 54, of South Jordan, was one of four defendants in a debt collection case filed in June 2009 in 3rd District Court. Police shot and killed him after he was seen pointing a shotgun at bystanders and chopping a temple fence with a machete.

The suit alleged Pogue conspired with Ernest Moffitt, of West Jordan; his son, David Moffitt; and Matthew Cartwright, a Utah County real estate broker, to sell overvalued properties to investors with a promised return of 14 percent.

The buyers were told they would make money from tenants who were already in place. According to the lawsuit, Pogue would act as a "sham renter," then stop paying rent until he was evicted.

Danny Quintana, the attorney who filed the suit for a West Jordan couple, said his clients attended real estate seminars conducted by David Moffitt. The couple loaned Ernest Moffitt — who "represented he was a devout Mormon using his religion to disguise his nefarious activities" — $2,500 for LDS "missionary work" and later invested more than $32,000 in a Salt Lake property, the lawsuit states.

Quintana told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this week that the FBI was investigating the alleged scam, but he backed off that claim in an interview with the Deseret News, saying, "I can't talk about my contacts with the FBI."

He said it appeared Pogue had spent whatever money he made in the alleged fraud scheme.

"From what we've looked at, Daniel Pogue didn't have any money, so he was pretty worthless as a defendant," Quintana said, adding, "I don't think this lawsuit had very much to do with Mr. Pogue's death."

The lawsuit seeks $2 million in punitive damages. A bench trial is set for March.

Moffitt released a statement through an attorney representing him in an ongoing bankruptcy.

"He said he hoped people would not stir the pot on a good man who in the 48 hours before his death had a serious illness or some other problem," said the attorney, Geoffrey Dietrich. Due to that illness, Pogue was "not the same man he knew him to be during the two years he had known him."

Some of Pogue's neighbors, who described him as quiet and friendly, said they saw him talking to himself outside his home the day of the incident.

His estranged wife said the only illness he suffered from was depression. She said Pogue was upset because he couldn't see his daughter on Christmas.

e-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com Twitter: pbkdn

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