SALT LAKE CITY — A Kaysville man bilked friends and fellow church members out of $1.5 million over 13 years in a financial fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A federal indictment alleges Robert Glen Mouritsen, 71, used a position of prominence to induce people to invest in what he called "The Project." He is charged with three counts each of wire fraud and money laundering.
Mouritsen told investors the plan involved a series of complicated international transactions that would replace fiat money — legal tender by government decree — with an asset-backed currency system such as the U.S. dollar tied to the value of gold, according to the indictment.
He allegedly told people it was expensive to keep moving forward and subject to strict confidential agreements that kept him from disclosing many details.
The indictment alleges Mouritsen told one victim the investment would be short term and would yield significant returns. When he failed to return the initial investment in time, he told the investor, who put in a total of $326,400, he needed more money to finish the deal.
Mouritsen also told investors the Patriot Act and Homeland Security held up the transaction because the money was overseas.
The Project failed to produce any returns in more than a decade, and Mouritsen used a significant portion investors' money for personal use, according to the indictment.
Mouritsen pleaded not guilty in federal court last week and was released from custody. A jury trial is scheduled to start Nov. 4.