Gerald Herbert, AP Photo

Man under investigation for promoting false Kamala Harris events in Utah arrested in Wyoming

By Lisa Riley Roche, KSL | Posted - Jul 12th, 2019 @ 9:12pm



SALT LAKE CITY — A man being investigated for fraud in connection with what turned out to be bogus planned appearances in Utah by Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has been charged in Wyoming with possessing a stolen car.

Adrain Paul Swensen, 39, was stopped midday Thursday in Rawlins, Wyoming, for speeding in a car reported stolen by Mark Barnes, the attorney for The Wave, a coworking space and social club for women in Salt Lake City, according to charging documents.

Swensen, going by the name Adrian Hebdon, had purported to be part of Harris' fundraising team and said the California senator would appear at a July 17 luncheon at the club and at a campaign fundraiser that evening.

Harris' campaign notified The Wave earlier this week the events were never on her schedule.

Salt Lake police detective Michael Ruff said the stolen vehicle case has been turned over to law enforcement in Wyoming, but the fraud allegations surrounding the Harris events are still being investigated.

"It will probably take a while to sort through," Ruff said.

The club's CEO, Joanna Smith, said the man she knew as Hebdon had borrowed the car and not returned it. He told the Deseret News earlier this week he'd used the car to drive to Harris campaign events in Iowa and South Carolina and had left it at the airport for Smith to pick up.

Rawlins Police Sgt. Jared Frakes said in a statement filed with the charging documents in Wyoming's 2nd Judicial District Circuit Court that Swensen told an officer he knew why he was being handcuffed during the traffic stop.

Swensen said he knew the car he was driving "was reported stolen, and the owner was his prior boss, who had let him use the vehicle to go to Iowa," according to the statement.

He also told the officer he'd been called by a Salt Lake police detective Wednesday and told to have the car back by 11 a.m. Thursday or it would be reported stolen.

Swensen was accompanied in the vehicle by Nicholas Hebdon, whom he'd told the Deseret News was his current husband. He has also acknowledged a criminal past, including serving time in prison in Iowa, but said he did nothing wrong in this case.

Frakes told the Deseret News Friday the pair were headed east. He said he'd heard about the allegations on the radio earlier Thursday and then ended "up right in the middle of the guy they're looking for."

In addition to a felony charge of wrongful taking or disposing of property, Swensen was also charged with speeding, driving with a suspended Iowa driver's license and failure to maintain liability insurance coverage, according to the documents.

The documents also listed a Clinton, Iowa, address for Swensen, who has also gone by the last name Noe. A cease and desist order from the Harris campaign was address to all three names and sent to a Taylorsville address.

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