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Prosecutors: Ex-A.G. John Swallow took another illegal houseboat trip

Prosecutors: Ex-A.G. John Swallow took another illegal houseboat trip

(KSL TV)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow apparently likes houseboat trips.

State prosecutors are now accusing him of spending five days on Nevada's Lake Mead in June 2010 on a 75-foot-long houseboat owned by a campaign contributor whose company faced a Utah consumer protection investigation.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill amended the criminal charges against Swallow on Thursday, adding another second-degree felony for allegedly illegally accepting a gift. Swallow now faces 12 felonies and two misdemeanors, including racketeering, bribery and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors describe the new allegation in a section of the charging documents titled, "Jared Pierce and Another Houseboat Trip."

In 2009, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection was investigating a company called Grant Instructor LLC, in which Pierce was a principal. The Murray-based Internet firm sold information about obtaining government grant money.

The division issued an administrative citation and initiated administrative action against Grant Instructor and two other companies affiliated with Pierce in August 2009, but dismissed the citation a month later, according to court documents.

Swallow represented Pierce and his companies regarding those investigations before then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff hired him as his chief deputy in December 2009.

Pierce made "significant" campaign donations to both Swallow and Shurtleff, court documents say.

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Prosecutors allege Swallow and several members of his immediate family used the houseboat at Pierce's expense June 25-29, 2010. Swallow was working as Shurtleff's chief deputy at the time.

Also in 2010, St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson was pushing Swallow for a legal opinion from him and Shurtleff on the legality of banks processing online poker receipts. Johnson held multimillion-dollar interest in SunFirst in St. George bank. The Federal Trade Commission also was investigating Johnson's Internet marketing enterprise, iWorks, at the time.

In September or October of that year, Swallow and his family spent two nights on Johnson's 80-foot luxury houseboat on Lake Powell, according to court documents.

Prosecutors also allege Swallow used Johnson's personal jet to fly between Salt Lake City and St. George.

Swallow first came to know Johnson in 2008 while working as Shurtleff's chief fundraiser. Johnson contributed $50,000 to Shurtleff's 2008 re-election campaign. Before the donation, the consumer protection division cited iWorks for numerous violations, court documents say.

While prosecutors added a charge to Swallow, they moved to drop the racketeering charge against Shurtleff on Wednesday, saying a conviction on that charge was unlikely. The racketeering charge against Swallow remains intact.

Earlier this week, prosecutors asked a 3rd District judge to separate the cases against Swallow and Shurtleff. They are listed as co-defendants on charging documents. Both men have steadfastly maintained their innocence.

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Dennis Romboy

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