Last charge in Utah Nu Skin theft case to be dropped
Prosecutors have agreed to drop the last criminal charge against a Utah County man after his attorney alleged Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. employees filed a false police report that led to his arrest, that of a former Miss Utah and a third person.
In a document filed Tuesday, Utah County prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge of theft by deception if Scott Lazerson does not violate state or federal laws for a year, though that period could be shortened if the two sides agree.
The dismissal comes after Lazerson’s attorney filed a motion in court last week with evidence he says showed that Nu Skin employees filed a false report with Provo police that led to the arrests of Lazerson, Elizabeth Craig and Brady Harper.
Craig and Harper previously were dismissed from the criminal case by a judge who cited the lack of evidence against them.
The motion by Lazerson’s attorney, Marcus Mumford, said Nu Skin Director Lisa Killpack and two company attorneys "made what is clearly a false police report accusing Lazerson, Craig and Harper of operating a ‘theft ring,’ where Lazerson had ‘somehow’ obtained ‘stolen’ product."
The motion cited depositions given by Nu Skin employees who said they provided expired, damaged or surplus items known internally as "dump product" to the three who wanted it for use by a charity Lazerson operated.
It also said Nu Skin had destroyed the pallets of goods taken from a storage unit and erased or failed to produce other evidence.
"We are pleased with the result and the willingness of the prosecutor to dismiss the case based on the new evidence that came to light showing that the case has been prosecuted based on false information," said Mumford in an interview.
Citing the deposition of Nu Skin CEO Truman Hunt, Mumford’s motion alleged that "Nu Skin made its false police report and arranged for [an employee] and others to give false testimony in this matter to fix problems originating with its own lack of internal controls, without having to disclose its own fault to shareholders and distributors."
Nu Skin said it "stands by the accuracy of the police report that was filed" and pointed to the claims of its civil lawsuit against Lazerson in which he also has counter-sued.
"We strongly believe that the civil counter claims have no merit, and we are confident in our position," it said.
Craig is suing Nu Skin in federal court and Lazerson and Nu Skin are suing each other in 4th District Court in Provo.
Lazerson, Craig and Harper were arrested in February of 2010 by Provo police. Charges claimed Craig and Harper were selling some of more than $1 million worth of product that was allegedly stolen from Nu Skin.
The allegations against Harper and Craig — Miss Utah in 1991-92 — were dismissed in December of 2010.