What is Jeremy Johnson accused of having done?
Jeremy Johnson, his company IWorks, and several associates and related entities were sued by the Federal Trade Commission last December.
The FTC suspects that Johnson engaged in using shell companies and false advertisements involving government and private grants. While maintaining his innocence throughout the legal process, Johnson has enjoyed particular media attention due to a degree of fame attached to him. Well known for using his personal helicopters to both rescue individuals lost in the rugged Utah terrain near where he lives, and to fly doctors to Haiti following the earthquake there in 2008, Johnson has awaited trial in jail since June, 2011.
Why has Jeremy Johnson been denied bail?
On June 12, when federal officials arrested Jeremy Johnson in a Phoenix airport, Johnson had on his person $26,400 in cash, and a one way ticket to Costa Rica. Since then, officials have remained reluctant to release Johnson on bail for fear that he might flee the country. Johnson has claimed that the one-way ticket to Costa Rica and the large amount of cash on his person result from favorable currency exchange rates once inside Costa Rica, and from cheaper return deals when booked separately.
Johnson has also claimed that he does not serve as a flight risk because all of his family and friends live around Utah, and that he would not leave them behind to flee to another country. However, this argument and others have not persuaded federal agents to allow Johnson out of jail, even on bail of one million dollars. A federal magistrate as recently as Thursday, August 1 ruled against Johnson leaving jail before trial.
What prevented the federal magistrate from allowing Jeremy Johnson out of jail?
Under subpoena, Las Vegas businessman Chad Elie presented testimony seemingly indicative of Johnson’s ability and potential desire to flee the country. A co-owner of one of Johnson’s businesses, Elie currently is under criminal indictment from a New York federal part for playing an active role in illegally processing gambling payments. Concerning Johnson’s continued incarceration, Elie testified about what he witnessed while riding in one of Johnson’s private helicopter.
Specifically, Elie commented that Jeremy Johnson displayed numerous places against the mountainous Utah background where gold and cash were hidden. Places Johnson hid gold and money included on mountains, and submerged under lakes. Elie’s further claims that Johnson hid the monetary items to have secret stores of cash in case Johnson got involved with federal agents convinced the federal magistrate that Jeremy Johnson should not be allowed to leave federal custody at this time.