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Utah man taken for $43,000 in fraudulent business scheme, police say
First Published Jul 28 2014 12:27 pm • Last Updated Jul 28 2014 04:16 pm

Ignoring the Great Commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, a Lindon man was arrested Friday on suspicion of defrauding his neighbor instead.

The victim of the alleged fraud told Orem police his neighbor had bilked him out of $43,000 over a three-year period to purportedly start a business that sold "a fire suppression system," Orem police said in a press release.

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The product, said Orem police Lt. Craig Martinez, would detect when a house was on fire and suck up water from the homeowner’s swimming pool to douse the fire.

"Do I want my stuff burned, or do I want my stuff bleached with chlorine? I don’t know what’s worse," Martinez said. "But maybe it sounds like a good idea. I don’t know."

Martinez was unsure what the product’s name, P.A.S.S., stood for.

The alleged victim’s entrepreneurial neighbor supplied him with fabricated documents from fake investors, including the Orange County Fire Authority of Irvine, Calif. Finally fed up with all the delays, the victim checked with fire officials in Irvine.

Far from being investors, the Orange County Fire Authority had never heard of the product. That’s when police say the alleged victim called the authorities.

Orem police detectives soon discovered that the alleged fraudster had been arrested by Draper police on July 1 on suspicion of committing another fraud and was out on bail. In that case, the man allegedly billed an employer $61,909 for sales contract work that he never did, according to charges of second-degree felony theft filed in 3rd District Court.

Detectives are concerned more people may have been duped, Martinez said.

"We’ve got two right now, and when these types of fraudsters come up, there’s often more victims who don’t know about the fraud," Martinez said, adding that police had no evidence of additional victims.


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Orem police arrested the suspect on July 25th and booked him into the Utah County jail, where he was being held without bail. Fourth District Court records show the man is charged there with one count of second-degree felony theft.

hstevens@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Harry_Stevens



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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