Convicted real estate developer C. Dean Larsen has turned down all plea bargains offered him by the Utah Attorney General's office, prompting investigators to proceed with plans to prosecute Larsen in December on eight of the 42 counts filed against Larsen nearly two years ago.
"He has rejected all plea offers we made," said assistant attorney general Rob Parrish. Investigators will file a motion next week before Third District Judge Leonard Russon to have the eight felony charges of theft and breach of fiduciary duty consolidated into one case, Parrish said. That case will be tried Dec. 4.Larsen also turned down plea offers before the first trial, Parrish said. A jury convicted Larsen on 18 counts of securities fraud in June. At that time, Larsen still faced 24 felony charges and four trials. If Russon agrees to consolidate the eight charges into one case, the state will probably forgo the three final trials and may drop 16 counts of offer and sale of unregistered securities, Parrish said. "It's very unlikely that we will ever get beyond a second trial," he said.
The state wants to prosecute Larsen for theft and breach of fiduciary duty for a couple of reasons: Utah has little case history in securities fraud to fall back on should Larsen appeal his first conviction; and the second group of charges show a different aspect of Larsen's conduct that the state believes will give a more complete picture of the man, Parrish said.
Regardless of the outcome of the second trial, Larsen begins serving a nine year prison sentence Dec. 17 for the securities fraud conviction. Russon also fined Larsen $90,000 and ordered him to pay $900,000 in restitution for those crimes.
Larsen, 55, created a real-estate development company called Granada in 1970. He presided over it for 17 years and created limited partnerships that acquired everything from mobile-home parks to old office buildings before the company's bankruptcy in 1987. Larsen's personal bankruptcy followed a few months later.
While the criminal aspect of Granada's17-year history works its way through the justice system, the bankruptcy proceedings linger on. Granada trustee, Peter Billings, continues to look for money in the vast estate, selling off any viable properties. Billings is currently attempting to sell two trailer courts in Cache and Davis counties.
"We're hoping to get $500,000 or more between the two parks," Billings said. "We've already got a good hunk in the bank."
But "hunk" is relative. Although Billings hopes to be able to distribute as much as $1.5 million to creditors, claims against the estate exceed $110 million - amounting to payouts to creditors of about a penny on the dollar.
Billings believes much of the $110 million in claims are duplicates. Others will be contested. He estimated the estate will ultimately recognize $25 million in claims. "But a number of those people are going to argue with us, so it could be double that."