Three years into his criminal case, St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson finally has a trial date.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner scheduled Johnson and four others from Johnson’s defunct I Works online marketing and sales company to stand trial March 2 on 86 charges related to alleged bank fraud.
The Salt Lake City trial, to be presided over by U.S. District Judge David Nuffer, is projected to last four to six weeks.
In setting a trial date, Warner pointed to the time that has passed since Johnson was first charged in June 2011. The four others were named in a new indictment in March 2013.
"So, for Mr. Johnson, this has been going on for three years," Warner said. "For the other four it’s been going on a year and a half."
The charges allege that the five created a series of shell companies with straw owners to open new bank accounts through which they could process credit and debit cards after I Works accounts were closed due to a high volume of customer chargebacks.
Johnson, who is under a gag order in the criminal case, contends I Works employees were directed by bank agents to create the new companies in a manner that he says is standard industry practice.
Warner scheduled another hearing for Nov. 5 to give defense attorneys time to wade through a mountain of evidence seized from I Works before he sets further deadlines.
Johnson is at the center of the scandal that toppled then-Attorney General John Swallow and, ultimately, led to criminal charges against Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff.
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