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IDAHOANS SAY THEY STAND TO LOOSE MILLIONS IF HANSEN GOES TO PRISON

Idaho Falls businessman Boyd Wecker is among eastern Idaho residents who fear they may never be repaid millions of dollars in loans if former congressman George Hansen goes to prison.

Hansen faces trial May 5 in Pocatello after pleading not guilty Tuesday to bank fraud charges in a 49-count federal grand jury indictment alleging he and an associate ran a massive check-kiting scheme.But Wecker said the former seven-term lawmaker has been assuring the 187 people who loaned him money that he's been arranging business deals to earn money to pay them back.

"I think that George even to this day feels that these things he's been trying to put together will go together and he'll be able to take care of it," he said. "Now that this has come up, it's probably impossible."

According to court records, Wecker loaned Hansen $167,500. He said Hansen offered to pay him 8-percent to 10-percent interest per month on the loans.

"I can't be very happy because that represents a good share of my retirement that's gone up in smoke," Wecker said.

Hansen lost a 1984 re-election bid in Idaho's 2nd Congressional District by only 170 votes just six months after being convicted on four felony counts of submitting false financial disclosure forms to Congress.

He later served more than a year in a federal prison camp.

John Scoresby, a former congressional aide to Hansen and currently the state Republican Party's eastern Idaho chairman, also is named in the new grand jury indictment. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Pocatello.

Both men face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each count if convicted. They remain free on their own recognizance.

The 49 specific instances of check kiting detailed in the indictment involved checks to Rupert-area farmer Brad Neibaur and other individuals and businesses in Paul, Burley, Idaho Falls and Rexburg ranging from $5,000 to $404,000 between March 14, 1990, and Jan. 15, 1991.

But the indictment contends Hansen and Scoresby exchanged 201 checks with Neibaur alone between March 1, 1990, and Nov. 1, 1990, totaling more than $21 million. It alleges that Hansen and Scoresby exchanged 109 more checks with an Idaho Falls man totaling more than $8 million during the same period.

Neibaur pleaded guilty on Jan. 8 to writing bad checks to help finance Hansen's investment scheme. He's scheduled to be sentenced April 6 in Rupert before 5th District Judge J. William Hart.

As part of a plea agreement, Neibaur agreed to cooperate with state and federal investigations of Hansen and Scoresby.

On Tuesday, Scoresby said he was a middleman in Hansen's operation.

"You know how George pled, and I'll be pleading exactly the same," Scoresby said. "And there's no question that we'll beat this thing."