Utahn convicted in fraud scheme sent to jail, faces new charges

Marc Jenson failed to pay any of $4.1 million in restitution

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 23 2011 6:09 p.m. MDT

In the alleged Mount Holly Resort scheme, one investor reported losing $261,000. Another took a loan against his home in the amount of $513,000. When investors later tried to withdraw their funds, they discovered the money had been transferred, the charges state.

Investigators said Marc and Stephen Jenson had 44 different bank accounts, including 12 that are "directly associated with the Mount Holly project." A total of nearly $2.8 million was ultimately collected in the name of the project, according to prosecutors.

"During the development term of these projects, Marc Jenson lives a lavish lifestyle, utilizing the funds from the project investments to rent and/or lease expensive homes; purchase exotic automobiles; take expensive vacations; provide monies to his wife … or to pay legal fees…," court documents state.

Jenson's previous case sparked controversy — first amid allegations that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff filed the charges as a favor for a friend whose wife was a campaign contributor, then from victims who were dissatisfied with an initial plea deal that was rejected by Judge Reese for being too lenient.

Reed said the plea in abeyance agreement was made at the behest of investors, who hoped that Marc Jenson would make good on his promises to repay what they lost.

"It's been an excruciating journey for the victims," Reed said. "(Jenson paid) not a penny, not a nickel, not a bad check. He thumbed his nose at them. … It's just been egregious and unspeakable."

In the meantime, he said MArc Jenson has been living in homes in Idaho and California that are valued in the millions of dollars and staying for months at a time in hotels with $900-a-night price tags.

"So, saying he doesn't have very much money doesn't strike a chord for me in the least," Reed said.

The prosecutor has been disappointed with Jenson and his behavior in the prior case "from the get-go" and declined to go into detail on the new case, but said the court documents largely "speak for themselves." He noted that the judge in the new case  must have agreed, because he issued a no bail warrant.

When he is sentenced in the 2005 case, Jenson could face up to five years in prison on each of the three counts.

"I imagine we'll ask for a lengthy term of incarceration," Reed said.

Marc Jenson's defense attorney, Greg Skordas, said his client is a victim of the economy — especially the housing market — and would have sold property to repay investors if the market would have been better.

"Housing and property values plummeted and people suffered and investors suffered and Marc's done the best he can to make it right," Skordas said. "There are a lot of unforeseen circumstances."

He said he and his client were "blindsided" by the new charges, especially considering the fact that they include activity from 2007 and 2008.

"It's not new conduct — there's nothing in the new charges from the last two years," Skordas said.

As for the order to put Marc Jenson in jail pending sentencing, Skordas said Reese made the decision after an attempt on his client's part to sell a home in Idaho fell through.

"I know Marc thought he was doing the best he could to make the restitution," Skordas said.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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