AMERICAN FORK Bill and Judy Freeland lost a dozen acres of prime land, water rights and money for treatment of Bill's inoperable brain tumor.
Lesley George lost nearly $83,000 of the $100,000 that was going to keep her afloat after her husband died. Torey Taylor lost her home and her car and isn't sure how she is going to make her next month's rent payment.
Each of these families is mourning their losses, wondering where nearly $300,000 went.
The tough part of the situation is that the losses come from two different sides.
Torey Taylor's husband, Newton Taylor, is the man prosecutors say is responsible for the losses. Newton Taylor was sentenced Friday to serve nine months in the Utah County Jail after pleading guilty to six counts of communications fraud.
Prosecutors say that Newton Taylor, 64, took nearly $300,000 from three victims over the past several years. A payment of $45,000 on April 18 was the first step he took to paying back his victims.
Torey Taylor doesn't excuse some bad choices her husband made but said it was never his intention to defraud anyone, especially his children and family members who also invested with him.
"My heart goes out to Judy (Freeland)," Torey Taylor said. "It just breaks. I don't care if we live in a shack for the rest of our lives (so we can) get these people paid off."
She said they have been living on her monthly income, and that she never saw any of the money prosecutors say her husband pocketed for personal expenses.
In fact, Torey Taylor insists he, too, was relying on promises from business partners. But those returns never came.
"My sincere desire on this whole thing is to make them whole," Newton Taylor told 4th District Judge David Mortensen, and said he begged for his victims' forgiveness. "I've spent all the time through this court process in an attempt to get the restitution done and I will continue to do that."
However, Mortensen sternly reminded Taylor that the only reason he wasn't going to prison was because the victims had approved a nine-month jail sentence because of the $45,000 check paid at the last hearing. They hoped that more restitution would be coming and prison would stop that.
"As to this case," Mortensen said. "I do not believe that this is a case of misunderstanding. I believe this is a case of theft. I believe that the thievery which was perpetrated is the worst kind (because it) preys upon the trust of people."
If Taylor stumbles while on 48 months of probation by failing to pay what amounts to $6,000 a month or accepting any money from people to invest, or by breaking any other laws, he will go to prison.
Mortensen ruled that Taylor's four second-degree felonies would run consecutively and that the the two third-degree felonies would run concurrently, but consecutively to the seconds, which equates to 65 years. However, the legal maximum he could serve on non-first degree felonies is 30 years, said prosecutor Chad Grunander.
Newton Taylor's attorney, John Easton, said they're optimistic that the remaining restitution of $237,130 can be paid by mid-June, at which time they would ask the judge to consider transferring the remaining jail time to GPS ankle monitoring, allowing Taylor to work and pay restitution.
But his victims said they're tired of the promises to pay. They've heard them over and over.
Another victim, Gary Maxfield, told Mortensen he only invested with Taylor after carefully researching the methods for nearly three years, becoming friends in the process.
"This was not a fly-by-night (option) that we just threw money at and expected a big get-rich-quick scheme," Maxfield said. "So I was devastated to find out that this was never handled properly, this was basically money stolen."
Grunander said the Utah County Attorney's Office investigators never found any evidence that the money was actually invested.
The victims each got a letter from an alleged broker in Las Vegas, G. Franklin Anderson, in which he explained the market was struggling and they were working to correct the problem.
"In all of our efforts, this G. Franklin Anderson simply doesn't exist anywhere in the real world," Grunander said.
That, plus Taylor's previous history with fraud, including a prison sentence for taking treatment monies from a quadriplegic boy, Grunander asked for intense oversight."He hasn't shown remorse, he hasn't accepted responsibility," Grunander said. "Because of that, (we ask for a) very short leash on this man. If he violates even a single payment the state would have the right to ... violate (the plea deal) and to send him to prison."
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