SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General's Office has filed charges against a Layton man who it says stole more than $100,000 from an elderly LDS missionary.
Keith Evan McKnight, 54 — who is still on probation for a prior conviction of communications fraud — was charged Thursday with communications fraud, a second-degree felony.
The 87-year-old alleged victim was conducting counseling sessions as a licensed clinical social worker for a 12-step program while serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he met McKnight, according to court documents.
In March of 2017, McKnight asked the missionary for "some financial assistance," which the man agreed to, the charges state.
Not long after, the missionary started receiving text messages from two men claiming to be McKnight's bosses at work. They claimed McKnight "had multiple wage garnishments from payday loan lenders, thus not allowing them as his employers to give him a full paycheck for his work," the charges state.
They asked the man if he "would be willing to help pay off the payday loans so that McKnight could receive a full paycheck," according to the charges.
The senior missionary "wrote approximately 190 checks from his personal Wells Fargo account totalling approximately $111,000" from March through August, the charges state.
The man's daughter, who is a local attorney, helped her father hire two private investigators and collect evidence against McKnight to give to prosecutors, the charges state.5 comments on this story
The investigation determined that McKnight's bosses were unaware of what was happening, and that McKnight used the money received "for personal expenses, including a personal trip to Seattle," according to investigators.
Court records show McKnight was already convicted of communications fraud in 2015. In that case, McKnight worked for a company "that would buy products for clients and charge those items on the company credit card," according to charging documents.
McKnight, however, never delivered the purchased items, and instead returned them for cash, the charges state. He was sentenced in that case to home confinement and ordered to wear an ankle monitor, and placed on three years of probation.