It’s time for some St. George residents to look in the mirror.
About every 2 to 3 years the Feds descend on St. George and bust somebody for fraud. This week’s was a doozy… a claim of $275 million in fraudulent activity by one Jeremy Johnson and his companies. Jeremy is well known in St. George, mainly for donation of his various aircraft to search and rescue efforts and flying humanitarian missions where they need to go. If you believe the Federal claims, the gas for those missions of mercy may have been bought with defrauded money from hundreds of thousands of other people.
I’ve been suspicious of his businesses since I first heard of them, so these charges surprise me not. On issues of guilt or innocence, I’ll let the courts decide. But if you read Jeremy’s defense of his business, your concern will rise:
Johnson said the order forms for his products prominently detail terms and disclosures that show customers will be charged $59.95 monthly if they do not call to cancel within a seven- to 14-day trial period. He pointed to prominent companies such as American Express that feature similar offers where consumers who are offered a “free” product must cancel or they will be charged for other goods or services.
I think anybody who bases a business on fine print that takes monthly $60 fees that they can’t cancel easily is doing a bad thing. The courts can decide if laws were broken. I’ll just say the business model was contemptible.
Now here is the rub…
the complaint says. Johnson and others (emphasis added) then created dozens of “shell” companies to accept credit card payments in order to avoid fines and detection, it says.
There are people running around this town, the “others” mentioned above, that helped Mr. Johnson in his schemes. I’m sure I know some of them. I just have to wonder how they feel about being part of such shoddy business practices and how they kept doing it so long.