Prison ordered for man who failed to pay $4.1 million to victims

Published: Thursday, Nov. 3 2011 4:43 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A Holladay man who failed to pay millions in restitution in connection with a 2005 felony case has been ordered to prison.

Marc Session Jenson, 51, was sentenced to three terms of zero to five years in prison Thursday by 3rd District Judge Robin Reese for three counts of sale of unregistered securities, a third-degree felony. Two of the sentences are to be served consecutively and one concurrently.

Reese also ordered that full restitution in the amount of $4.1 million owed to two victims be paid in full.

In court, prosecutors pointed to Jenson's personal bank account records, that showed as much as $9 million was moved in and out of the account between October 2008 and November of 2010. None of that money went to the victims, according to prosecutors.

"It was pretty sad," assistant attorney general Scott Reed said. "(Jenson) had absolute control over his own destiny and he turned a win-win into an everybody loses."

Jenson was accused of bilking millions of dollars each from three investors in a "hard-money lending" operation. Jenson reportedly told the investors their money would be used for short-term, high-interest loans to entrepreneurs in need of cash while the businessmen worked on long-term financing.Upon repayment of the short-term loans, the investors would make money.

But the victims say they were not repaid, and Jenson used their money to fund a lavish lifestyle. He then tried to get them to settle for a fraction of what they invested or were threatened with getting nothing at all. They say he never told them before they invested that he had been in federal prison in 1992 for bank fraud.

Jenson was charged in 2005 with the unregistered securities counts, two counts of securities fraud and one count of pattern of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies. In a plea agreement that was initially rejected by 3rd District Judge Robin Reese for being too lenient, Jenson was eventually allowed, in 2008, to enter a plea in abeyance to the three unregistered securities charges.

Per the terms of his plea agreement, Jenson was to avoid violating state or federal laws for three years and pay the $4.1 million in restitution.

Subsequently, hearings were held as the restitution went unpaid, but the judge decided that Jenson still had time and set an evidentiary hearing in August 2011.

At that hearing, it was determined that Jenson had failed to meet the terms of the agreement and "guilty" judgments were entered to the three unregistered securities charges. Reese issued a $500,000 warrant and ordered Jenson to surrender his passport.

Reed said one of the victims is 73-years-old and lost $2.5 million that he and his wife planned to use for retirement and family education funds. Reed called the judge's decision one of choosing between the travesty of allowing Jenson to stay out of prison in the hopes he would pay and the tragedy of sending him to prison and greatly reducing the odds that payments will be made.

"It's not a happy day for anybody," Reed said. "It kind of closed the final chapter on the victims and the revelation that they're never going to be repaid. Nobody enjoys asking for a sentence of prison, but it's like we exhausted all the other options that we can call appropriate justice."

Jenson is facing additional criminal charges of four counts of communications fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of pattern of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies. Those charges were filed in August of this year.

Jenson, and his brother, Stephen, were both charged after prosecutors said the pair devised as many as four different schemes with the goal of obtaining funds from investors which then "fail to materialize and the victims are left with millions of dollars in losses."

According to the charges, the schemes include a ski resort in Beaver County, a real estate development project in Malibu, Calif., a wetlands preservation operation also based in Utah and "a loan to a local law firm for expenses pending completion of a civil suit against a pharmaceutical company that produced Fen-Phen."

A preliminary hearing has been set in the more recent case for January 2012.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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