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Trial set for Jeremy Johnson, associates in federal fraud case

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5 2014 2:57 p.m. MDT

Jeremy Johnson leaves Federal Court in Salt Lake City Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. A federal judge Tuesday set a trial date for St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson and four associates who allegedly bilked millions of dollars from customers in an Internet marketing scam.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge Tuesday set a trial date for St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson and four associates who allegedly bilked millions of dollars from customers in an Internet marketing scam.

A four-week jury trial is scheduled to start March 2, 2015, before U.S. District Judge David Nuffer.

Johnson, Scott Leavitt, Bryce Payne, Ryan Riddle and Loyd Johnston were named in an 86-count indictment alleging that they committed fraud in connection with Johnson's online business, iWorks.

Prosecutors allege iWorks used numerous websites to tout bogus government grants that were available to stop foreclosures and pay down debt and pay for personal expenses such as groceries, home repairs and utilities. The sites claimed the grants could be accessed through a CD offered for a $2.29 shipping fee.

The five men were charged in March 2013 and prosecutors asked for a trial in April, expressing concerns about the memories of witnesses as the alleged crimes date back five years. But the court said the large amount of evidence in the case called for more time.

Johnson is a central figure in the criminal charges filed last month against former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow. County prosecutors allege they accepted gifts from Johnson, including use of his private jet and luxury houseboat.

— Dennis Romboy

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