Jeremy Johnson to appear in court today
Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson

ST. GEORGE – St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson is scheduled to appear in court today facing charges that he defrauded thousands of customers by illegally selling products through the mail.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents arrested Johnson at an airport in Phoenix on Saturday. He was on his way to Costa Rica, where he owns a home, according to a release U.S. Attorney's Office.

The longtime St. George resident, who was charged earlier this year by the Federal Trade Commission with defrauding customers out of $270 million over the internet, was charged Saturday with one count of mail fraud for allegedly selling CDs through the mail on how to apply for government grants to pay for personal expenses.

The charge comes with a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Johnson is well-known in the local community for assisting in local search and rescue operations, but questions about his business practices arose earlier this year with the charges from the FTC.

The agency froze Johnson's and his company iWorks' assets in February, alleging that Johnson and nine other defendants made millions through iWorks and related umbrella companies, "luring consumers into 'trial' memberships for bogus government-grant and money-making schemes, and then repeatedly charging them monthly fees for these and other memberships they never signed up for."

Johnson is likely to make an initial appearance this afternoon in Phoenix, said Melodie Rydalch, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah.

The Spectrum will be following this story all day. Check back later on for the latest information.
Originally published June 13, 2011