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Father, son to receive jail time in alleged investment scam

Father, son to receive jail time in alleged investment scam

By Whitney Evans | Posted - Oct. 7, 2013 at 9:39 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Quintin Fullmer Smith, 33, walked down a 3rd District Court hallway Monday, flanked by family members.

Minutes earlier, the group huddled outside the courtroom, several of them weeping.

Smith has four days to turn himself in to Davis County Jail, where he will serve a term of 180 days on work release for two counts of attempted securities fraud, a class A misdemeanor, and begin paying restitution.

His father, Michael Kay Smith, 66, was sentenced to serve one year in the Salt Lake County Jail for two counts of attempted securities fraud, third-degree felonies amended to class A misdemeanors.

"I was optimistic to the end," Michael Smith said of his failed business Newport Financial Services.

The father and son told investors they could receive an 18 percent return by buying contracts from furniture store customers who could not qualify for standard credit options.

The pair reportedly said they invested $1 million of their own money, which investigators report was not true.

Norm Chow, a former assistant football coach at the University of Utah and BYU, was among at least 18 investors who gave nearly $3 million to Newport Financial Services. Chow gave $500,000, and his oldest son, Carter, who is a sports agent whose clients include former BYU wide receiver Austin Collie, invested $400,000.

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Six people listed in the charges received little or no return from their investments. The documents were not clear as to whether Norm or Carter Chow were among the six.

The final restitution amount is pending additional restitution claims, including that of Norm Chow. It may exceed $1.7 million to be paid jointly between Michael and Quintin Smith.

The Smiths falsely told investors they were earning “100 percent on every dime they put out there,” investigators said.

They allegedly told one investor that "if everything were cut off today, we would have enough to pay every investor back and still have $2 million left over," charging documents said.

A month later, police say the Smiths told investors all the money was gone.

Defense and prosecution attorneys argued that both men were naive in their business investments.

"They honestly believed that they could run this business successfully," said Bradley Nykamp, attorney for Quintin Smith.

Defense attorneys also cited the economic collapse as a reason for the company's ruin.

I am concerned that some people are extending forgiveness. That worries me, too, because I think people are vulnerable to further exploitation.

–Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills

Ed Brass, representing Michael Smith, said his client wanted to emphasize that Quintin Smith was not as responsible as his father.

"Quintin was walking behind his father," Brass said.

However, Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills did not agree.

"I find it hard to believe that this caught anyone off guard," she said, citing Quintin Smith's economics degree.

Letters from the Smiths' victims were also troubling to Hruby-Mills.

"I am concerned that some people are extending forgiveness. That worries me, too, because I think people are vulnerable to further exploitation," she said.

Hruby-Mills suspended a jail term of 365 days for Quintin Smith, pending successful probation and payment of restitution.

She also suspended two consecutive prison terms of zero to five years for Michael Smith, pending success in his 36 months of probation and payment of joint restitution.

Charges for both men were reduced from six felony counts of securities fraud and one count one count of pattern of unlawful activity, second-degree felonies, according to 3rd District Court records.

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Whitney Evans


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