8 Utahns charged with participating in $100 million supplements scam

Eight Utahns and one Washington resident have been indicted by a federal grand jury and accused of getting $100 million really worth of credit and debit card purchases by way of a plan that concerned the sale of nutraceutical, CBD and dietary nutritional supplements. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret Information)

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SALT LAKE City — 8 Utahns and one Washington resident have been indicted by a federal grand jury and accused of getting $100 million truly worth of credit history and debit card buys by means of a plan that involved the sale of nutraceutical, CBD and dietary supplements.

The U.S. Attorney’s Place of work of Utah introduced Wednesday that the defendants are:

  • April Gren Bawden, 36, of Salt Lake County
  • Chad Austin Bawden, 43, of Salt Lake County
  • Phillip Gannuscia, 52, of Salt Lake County and Puerto Rico
  • Makaio Lyman Crisler, 39, of Utah County
  • Barbara Jo Jackson, 69, of Utah County
  • Brent Goldburn Knudson, 42, of Utah County
  • Richard Scott Nemrow, 42, of Utah County
  • Dustin Garr, 44, of Washington County
  • Robert McKinley, 45, of Spokane, Washington

The defendants are accused of committing 18 counts of legal action from at least January 2016 by way of April 2022, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud conspiracy to dedicate lender fraud conspiracy to commit dollars laundering wire fraud aggravated identity theft and revenue laundering aiding and abetting, in accordance to a assertion from federal prosecutors.

The scheme associated the sale of nutraceutical, CBD and nutritional dietary supplements as a result of a quantity of internet sites and a call middle working in Utah, in accordance to the indictment. Ads promised rewards this kind of as weight decline and the treatment method of seizures and cancers, provided untrue promises about their performance, and utilised fake superstar endorsements. Individuals ended up also misled about the price of solutions and the means to return products or receive refunds, the indictment states.

All revenue necessary the shopper to offer a credit score or debit card. Consumers ended up then enrolled in month to month subscriptions “with out their know-how or consent,” billed additional than the advertised selling prices, and upsold on other products and solutions whilst hoping get refunds, the indictment alleges.

“The misleading and fraudulent techniques also resulted in quite a few million pounds of chargebacks because of to customers disputing a demand as unauthorized or fraudulent,” the indictment states.

To aid “tens of hundreds” of misleading on line income, the defendants are accused of placing up hundreds of websites and limited liability providers, hundreds of small business checking accounts and hundreds of merchant processing accounts in the names of many others but which they controlled. They recruited and paid out men and women referred to in the indictment as “straw owners” for the use of their individual details, in accordance to the indictment.

These straw homeowners have been compensated nominal quantities, typically $250 to $350 a month, as extended as their service provider accounts remained open but they experienced minor to no awareness of the firms, in accordance to prosecutors.

The defendants employed the proceeds from the plan to buy goods these kinds of as a Lamborghini Urus, a 2020 Porsche 911 convertible and a 2021 Nautique Paragon boat, in accordance to the U.S. Attorney’s Business. They also purchased properties and paid for cosmetic surgery, the indictment states.

“In addition to the millions of dollars benefiting the defendants, extra than $64 million of the scheme proceeds have been transferred overseas,” the indictment suggests.

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