Quick end to John Swallow investigation not likely

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 5:34 p.m. MST

The FTC filed a civil complaint against Johnson in December 2010, alleging his company, iWorks, billed online consumers for products and services they didn't order month after month totaling $300 million. Johnson is also charged in criminal court for mail fraud in connection with his enterprise.

Through his attorneys, Stirba & Associates, Johnson issued a statement saying he stands by his comments.

Beginning in fall 2010, under what he continues to believe to be a wrongful federal investigation, Johnson participated in a series of communications with Swallow and Rawle. The communications focused on an arrangement in which Johnson paid $250,000 that he believed would eventually go to Reid to end the FTC investigation, according to the statement.

"Johnson relied on assurances from John Swallow, a trusted friend and public official, that a monetary arrangement could alleviate continued government action. Any assertions by the newly elected Utah attorney general that he is unaware of or was not involved in the situation are untrue," the statement said.

Johnson's attorneys said he would not do any more interviews on the subject.

Swallow on Wednesday also said he doesn't plan to do any more interviews until the investigation is complete.

One possible piece of evidence investigators might look at is an affidavit Rawle wrote three days before he died of cancer Dec. 8, 2012.

It's unclear why Rawle made the declaration, which Swallow provided the media after the story broke and called a "critical" piece of his defense to the allegations.

"I do have to speculate because I don't know why," Swallow said. "He knew he was going to die. He had heard rumblings of these types of allegations that might be out there, and he wanted to set the record straight. … He wanted to make sure his voice could heard beyond where he is now."

Tolman said while investigators might want to look at the document, it would be considered hearsay in court because Rawle can't be cross-examined.

"You have a real issue there," he said.

The statement isn't necessarily admissible and would be viewed with skepticism due to the circumstances under which it was made, Tolman said.

Rawle explains in the affidavit how he used some of the $250,000 Johnson and his business associate Scott Leavitt paid him. He wrote that he did not agree to pay Swallow for introducing him to Johnson. He also said he had no knowledge of a plan to influence Reid with the money.

Rawle, who set up a company called RMR Consulting after meeting with Johnson in October 2010, said he paid lobbyists with a portion of the money and took $50,000 for his fee, part of which he used to pay "miscellaneous" expenses. One of those bills was from Swallow's company, P-Solutions, for consulting on a cement project Rawle had in Nevada.

Swallow later returned the check, which came from the RMR account, and asked it come from another account. Rawle then paid Swallow $23,500 from another account, according to the affidavit.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

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