SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal plea agreement fell apart Friday for a well-known Utah philanthropist accused of running a $350 million scheme that billed hundreds of thousands of consumers for products they never ordered.
Prosecutors allege that Jeremy Johnson's company, iWorks, sent software to consumers for a supposedly risk-free trial but billed them anyway. The company mailed consumers CDs that contained information about government grants for personal, business and education expenses, prosecutors have said.
Johnson, 37, was arrested at a Phoenix airport in 2011, carrying more than $26,000 in cash and a one-way plane ticket to Costa Rica.
Federal prosecutors initially charged him with one count of mail fraud related to his Internet-based business operations. He was set to enter a guilty plea Friday to two additional charges of bank fraud and money laundering as part of an agreement with the government.
But Johnson and prosecutors disagreed over the terms and a list of people that Johnson wanted to ensure would not be prosecuted. Johnson instead decided to maintain his not guilty plea and the case is set to go to trial.