Former Lawmaker Sentenced in Investment Scam

Former Lawmaker Sentenced in Investment Scam

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A former state representative who was also once Springville mayor has been sentenced to pay almost $137,000 in restitution to people he persuaded to invest in fraudulent humanitarian projects.

James Brent Haymond, 69, was sentenced Tuesday on five felony counts of securities fraud and theft by deception and a class A misdemeanor count of sale of unregistered securities.

A review hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31 to determine if Haymond has met the restitution requirement or if he will spend the court-ordered 120 days in jail.

Beginning in 1998, Haymond persuaded friends and co-workers to invest various projects in China. They included construction of power plants, helping finance airplanes for the Chinese government and growing an alfalfa crop, according to court documents.

The alfalfa project would help pave the way for missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to start proselytizing in the country, Haymond claimed, and was one of the largest selling points for some investors, according to documents filed in 4th District Court. However, the church was not involved.

Haymond gathered large donations and forwarded them to China to an account managed by Gen Yee Lin.

The donations were to be invested in certificates of deposit from the Bank of China, then placed in a U.S. Treasury mid-term note trading program with extremely high returns, according to court documents. Those returns would be used to buy planes or alfalfa seed with plenty left over for investors, according to court documents.

But the promised returns never came.

Haymond has a little more than two months to pay back his half of the full restitution amount -- which is almost $275,000 -- if he wants to stay out of jail. If he pays back the money the felony charges will dropped to class A misdemeanors, said Curtis Larson, deputy Utah County attorney.

Lin is responsible for the other half of the restitution. But because the co-defendants are linked, if Lin is late on his payments, Haymond would be obligated to repay any delinquent amount during his 36-month probation, said Randy Spencer, Haymond's attorney.

There is a warrant for Lin's arrest. He did not show up for his last two court appearances and is presumed to be in China.

Haymond served as Springville's mayor from 1982 to 1986 and in the Utah House of Representatives from 1991 to 1999.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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