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Author Topic: Utah attorneys general uncovered as paid MLM enablers, now arrested  (Read 2271 times)


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2 ex-Utah attorneys general charged with bribery

By Associated Press

Published: 23:56 GMT, 15 July 2014  | Updated: 23:56 GMT, 15 July 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two former Utah attorneys general were arrested on an array of bribery charges Tuesday stemming from cozy relationships with several businessmen, a stunning fall for a pair of politicians who built immense political clout in their years at the highest level of state law enforcement.

John Swallow, 51, and Mark Shurtleff, 56, were arrested at their homes Tuesday morning, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said at a news conference at the FBI office in Salt Lake City in which he detailed payoffs involving gold coins, swanky resorts and other luxury gifts.

"This is a sad day for Utah," Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement. "The entire situation, regardless of how the legal process plays out, is a black eye for our state."

This combination of Tuesday, July 15, 2014 photos provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff shows former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff, left, and John Swallow who were taken into custody Tuesday as part of a bribery investigation. The arrests come just over a year after two county attorneys began scrutinizing Shurtleff and Swallow's relationships with several businessmen in trouble with regulators. (AP Photo/Salt Lake County Sheriff)

Court records show John Swallow faces 13 charges, including felony bribery charges, while Shurtleff faces 10 counts that include bribery. The most serious charges for each man come with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison.

Gill said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges will likely be filed against both men and others.

It's unclear if federal charges are being considered, though the FBI said it will continue to investigate a number of leads.

When Swallow walked out of jail Tuesday afternoon, he said he'd known for a few weeks that this was likely to happen.

"I absolutely maintain my innocence," he said. "This finally gives us the opportunity to start to respond back."

Swallow, a Republican, said he looks forward to making his case in court "to confront my accusers and to share my side of the story for really the first time."

Shurtleff, also a Republican, said the charges leveled against him are completely false and motivated by a politically charged investigation by Gill, a Democrat. He accused Gill in charging forward with an incomplete investigation and engaging in political sideshow antics for his own political gain during a re-election year.

Gill defends the investigation and points to cooperation from a Republican county attorney, the state department of public safety and the FBI as evidence that inquiry is not politically motivated.

Shurtleff called it a "sobering experience" to be arrested and recognized making errors in judgment during his tenure in office.

"But I have never intentionally committed any violation of the ethics," Shurtleff said at an afternoon news conference at his attorney's office. "I have never misused or abused the public's trust. And I certainly have not violated any of the criminal laws of the state of Utah."

Gill said both men are accused of accepting at least $50,000 in cash or campaign contributions from people who faced or expected to face scrutiny from the attorney general's office. They used a luxury jet and personal property belonging to a businessman in trouble with regulators, authorities said. Swallow also used the businessman's million-dollar houseboat on Lake Powell, according to officials.

Swallow's former employer, a Utah payday loan titan, gave Swallow 12 one-ounce gold coins when he left to join the attorney general's office, court documents said. Swallow, while working as a chief deputy in the attorney general's office, later sold back the coins one at time, receiving $17,000 in all.

Both Shurtleff and Swallow stayed at a high-end Newport Beach resort where they enjoyed meals, golf, clothing and massages paid for by another businessman who had been charged earlier with fraud by the Utah attorney general's office.

They're also accused of trying to cover up the alleged schemes.

Both have denied all the allegations.

Swallow resigned in late 2013 after spending nearly 11 months dogged by the bribery and corruption allegations. Swallow adamantly denied breaking any laws and said the toll of the scrutiny had become too much for him and his family.

The first bombshell allegations dropped less than a week after Swallow took the oath of office in January 2013, when a businessman in trouble with federal regulators accused Swallow of arranging a bribery plot involving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Reid and Swallow, who pledged to fight white collar crime during his campaign, denied the allegations.

In the months following, the accusations and investigations snowballed and led to probes by the U.S. Department of Justice, Utah elections officials and the state bar. Reid has not been implicated in the investigation.

An investigation from Utah lawmakers concluded Swallow destroyed and fabricated records and hung a veritable "for sale" sign on the door of the attorney general's office.

Swallow said any missing records were deleted unintentionally.

Shurtleff, his predecessor, is Utah's longest-serving attorney general. He left the office in early 2013 after a dozen years in office, but allegations of corruption followed him.

Swallow served as chief deputy for Shurtleff from 2009 to early 2013.

Officials with the state's pretrial services agreed to let Shurtleff and Swallow out without posting bail, court records show. Initial court appearances have not been set.


Associated Press reporters Brady McCombs, Annie Knox and Rick Bowmer in Salt Lake City and Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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Utah's Top Cops and MLM Defenders Arrested
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2014, 04:03:50 AM »

Pyramid Scheme Alert NEWSLETTER:

Utah's Top Cops and MLM Defenders Arrested

Back in the USA, the MLM industry has touted as one of its great promoters the

Mark Shurtleff, Former Utah AG, and Prominent MLM Endorser, Arrested on Bribery Charges
former Attorney General of Utah, Mark Shurtleff. While still
serving as a public official, Shurtleff appeared to have publicly endorsed the MLM, Usana and he was instrumental in opening Utah up to more MLM pyramids.

Now it is reported that Shurtleff has been arrested in Utah on bribery charges, along with another former Attorney General of Utah, John Swallow, who was also a major MLM backer.

According to the  Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, the prosecution included the cooperation of the FBI. Gill announced  that Shurtleff and Swallow are accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from businesspeople. The charges come with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Shurtleff served a dozen years in office as Utah's Attorney General until 2013, but allegations of corruption plagued him. Swallow  was his chief deputy from 2009 to early 2013. He served less than a year as the state AG and then resigned amid corruption charges.

Both Swallow and Shurtleff were nationally known as governmental defenders and promoters of MLM in Utah and nationally, the state with more MLM headquarters per capita than any other. According to a 2012 investigative article in Harpers Magazine by Jeff Ernsthausen, Shurtleff received campaign contributions totaling more than $475,000 from members of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) since 1999, accounting for 14 percent of his donations from sources other than the state Republican Party. The DSA writes the "code of ethics" that MLM member companies are supposed to follow. The Harper's article noted, after itemizing DSA member contributions to Shurtleff, noted that "unsurprisingly", Shurtleff was a major MLM backer.

Shurtleff famously appeared as the state's top law enforcement officer at DSA member and MLM, Usana's national meeting in 2004 to apparently endorse the company publicly. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune in a 2011 piece on MLM influence in Utah by Steven Oberbeck, Shurtleff "walked onto the stage in Salt Lake City. 'Good morning, Usana,' he shouted. 'And I have some news for you. Last night I talked to Governor Huntsman, and he agreed with me that it is now time to change the name of our state. 'From now on we will be known as Utana.'"

Book "Sales" Help Investigations Go Away?

Another publicized connection between Shurtleff and MLM, was with the MLM scheme, Pre-Paid Legal, which also had been a DSA member. Pre-Paid Legal  was a publicly traded stock with the symbol, PPD. It was frequently sued for deception and pyramiding, and later was taken private with a leveraged buy-out, followed by the change of its name to LegalShield, a current DSA member. The Shurtleff/Pre-Paid Legal connection allegedly involved campaign money to Shurtleff from PPD, a lucrative book purchasing  deal by PPD to the profit of Shurtleff, and possible help from Shurtleff in squelching a federal investigation of PPD. According to an article in the Salt Lake City Weekly by Eric S. Peterson, the multi-level marketing scheme, Pre-Paid Legal Services had donated $130,000 in campaign funds to Shurtleff  between 2003 and 2008. Shurtleff also received $7,400 in donations to his 2009 Senate race from employees of Pre-Paid Legal, and Shurtleff's political action committee, the PAC for Utah's Future, received $15,000 in donations from the company in 2010.

Quoting from the article, "Author and Tea Party activist Candace Salima says that when then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff approached her in spring 2009 about publishing his historical fiction novel with her Valor Publishing Group, he told her that he hadn't finished writing the book - but that he could guarantee a pre-sale order of 100,000 copies. Salima says that the company that Shurtleff told her was willing to buy 100,000 copies... which, Salima says, would result in over $100,000 in royalties being paid to Shurtleff - was Pre-Paid Legal Services.... At the time, the company was being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for making misleading statements to its customers."

Making Pyramids "Legal" in Utah

Shurtleff's greatest contribution to MLM in Utah, with national ramifications, was his leadership role in changing the state's anti-pyramid scheme law to one that exempts MLM and also inhibits the ability of victims to sue an MLM in Utah. For a full review on the changed  law in Utah that now protects "product-based" pyramids see, 2006 special report, Utah Legislature Passes Pyramid Scheme Safe Harbor Amendments,by Robert FitzPatrick.

On Shurtleff's successor John Swallow's ties to MLM, the Harper's investigation reported that "Of the $680,000 he has raised for his election campaign to date (June 2012), $114,000 can be traced to Utah-based DSA member companies, their executives, or their spouses."

Utah is only one example of MLM influence-buying at the state level. North Carolina was also specifically cited in the Harper's investigation. Formerly a state that was noted for active prosecutions of MLM pyramids under its strict anti-pyramid scheme statute, North Carolina is now a recent headquarters to the MLM, ACN, famously touted by Donald Trump, and the site of a major new distribution center for Herbalife. Pyramid Scheme Alert asked Mr. Cooper to investigate Herbalife, based on consumer losses revealed in the income data as well as other other known facts about the company related to a pyramid scheme. He did not respond.

Executives from ACN, according to the Harper's investigation, have given $84,550 to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper "since the run-up to the company's relocation there in 2008 - nearly 85 percent of their total campaign contributions during that period... Two ACN executives, Charles Barker and Robert Stevanovski, tied with a few others as the largest individual donors to Cooper's 2008 reelection campaign.This figure includes donations by executives' spouses and members of ACN's "Circle of Champions." Much of this money came from employees residing outside North Carolina."


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Re: Utah attorneys general uncovered as paid MLM enablers, now arrested
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2014, 04:06:56 AM »

Pyramid Scheme Alert NEWLETTER

Is It Legal?   
Dear Pyramid Scheme Alert Supporters and Colleagues,

In the last Update, I wrote that America's "top government defender" of multi-level
Top "government defender" of MLM, Mark Shurtleff, former AG of Utah, was arrested and charged with bribery.

marketing, former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, had been arrested and charged with bribery, along with another former Utah AG who was also known for protecting MLM from pyramid prosecution. Shurtleff took an international leadership role with MLM when he led a successful campaign to roll back Utah's anti-pyramid law and even protected MLMs from being sued by Utah victims. MLMs were among his top campaign donors and Utah has the highest concentration, per capita, of MLM headquarters in the nation.

MLM's most famous attorney has been sued for promoting and protecting the Ponzi scheme, Zeek Rewards, shut down by the SEC

Now, MLM's "top lawyer", Kevin Grimes and his law firm, the most famous in the MLM world, have been sued for "legal malpractice" for deceptively promoting and profiting from the MLM, Zeek Rewards, that was shut down by the SEC as a massive Ponzi scheme.
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