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TYCOON SENTENCED FOR KIDNAPPING

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Utahn Carl Martin and Hong Kong millionaire John Wong met once 10 years ago, for less than an hour.

But their hatred has swollen with time, exploding into lawsuits, a kidnapping and, this week, possible extortion and voiced fears of murder.Wong's rage has sent him to prison. Martin's hostility may spark an FBI investigation into possible extortion.

A federal judge Friday sentenced Wong, 56, to two years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine for orchestrating and financing the December 1993 kidnapping of Mar-tin.

Six men, including Wong's nephew, kidnapped Martin from his office early on the morning of Dec. 21 and drove to Las Vegas, where he escaped that night. Wong ordered Martin kidnapped in a bid to collect $3.5 million Wong had invested a decade earlier with Martin, according to court records.

Four of Wong's henchmen were also sentenced to prison Friday for their role in the kidnapping.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene on Friday ordered the FBI to investigate Martin, 62, after learning that Martin may have offered to write a favorable victim impact statement if Wong paid him $1.5 million.

Ron Yengich, Wong's attorney, informed Greene of the proposal in court Friday.

"In a federal sentencing procedure, someone has offered to appear in court and make a favorable statement if you pay them $1.5 million," the incredulous judge asked.

"It was an offer to make a written statement, your honor," Yen-gich replied.

"I think that's a possible obstruction of justice and a possible violation of the federal extortion statute. I'm trying to find out in my mind who is the victim here." He ordered the FBI to investigate Mar-tin's offer.

Martin plans to sue Wong civilly for the kidnapping. His attorney, Mark Van Wagoner, gave Yengich a copy of the proposed lawsuit.

Martin offered to settle the suit before filing it for $1.5 million, Van Wagoner said.

That offer included the implied favorable victim impact statement, Yengich told the court.

Not so, Van Wagoner said. Martin's victim impact statement was sent to the court days ago, "irrespective of this lawsuit," Van Wagoner said.

The lawsuit may never be filed. "Mr. Martin is afraid that if he files this lawsuit, Mr. Wong will have him killed. Mr. Martin is so afraid of Mr. Wong that he would not go to the sentencing today," Van Wagoner said.

Wong, on the other hand, fears that Martin will have him killed, Yengich said.

"Mr. Martin is a reprehensible human being who wants to profit all of time off of other people. . . . Well, he didn't get the $1.5 million he wanted," Yengich said.

The genesis of the men's hatred began in the early 1980s, when Martin and partner Richard D. Brown created Goldcor out of a dormant Utah shell company.

The two men put out the word that they had a revolutionary formula for extracting gold from the black sands of Costa Rico. Between 1985 and 1987, they floated 40 million shares of unregistered stock in the company.

Wong invested $3.5 million.

The government caught on to the scam; it fell apart and the millions of dollars disappeared. The Securities Exchange Commission filed criminal charges against Brown and Martin, accusing them of squirreling away $13 million for themselves.

Martin went to prison. Brown was gunned down in his home in Daytona Beach, Fla., 48 hours before he was scheduled to testify about Goldcor before a federal grand jury.

His murder has never been solved.

The missing millions of dollars is still missing.

The money, and his inability to get justice, obsessed Wong, Yengich said in court Friday.

Wong finally decided to take matters into his own hands, asking his nephew, Sean Chase, to commit the crime. Chase hired three men from Phoenix, Ariz., to help him. The three each said they were offered $25,000, but weren't told that the money was for kidnapping someone until they flew in to Salt Lake City, days before the kidnapping.

Utahn Paul Siewic said he was originally offered between $60,000 and $70,000, but his take was slashed to approximately $25,000 when he refused to participate in the actual kidnapping and others had to be flown in.

Wong, a textile tycoon, flew his siblings, his girlfriend, his pastor and two friends here to help him convince that judge that the kidnapping was out of character for him.

Wong and his five co-defendants each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping, a crime that carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Yengich urged Greene to put Wong on probation instead. Federal law allows a judge to impose a sentence lighter than that recommended by the guidelines if the defendant is the sole supporter of children. Wong has fathered a child with his girlfriend, Yengich said. Both the girlfriend and the toddler depend on Wong for financial support.

As soon as Wong's divorce is final, he plans to marry his girlfriend, Yengich told the court. He noted that Wong has no criminal record and was deeply remorseful for his crime.

"I am deeply sorry," Wong told the judge. "The remorse, grief and regrets only I myself will know, which will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Greene slashed 36 months off the maximum sentence, largely because of Wong's remorse, his child and Martin's own behavior.

Some might have viewed Wong as more culpable if "there had been a different victim involved," Greene said. "There was certainly a lot of reason for you to do something," the judge acknowledged, but chided Wong for his "self-help" approach to justice.

Wong had valid reasons for seeking probation "But it would not be appropriate to have everyone else go to prison and you not," Greene said. Three of the men Wong hired to commit the crime have been incarcerated in the Salt Lake County Jail for 18 months.

In addition to the $250,000 fine, Greene ordered Wong to pay the government $107,000 - a sum covering all costs the government would have incurred if Wong had served the full 60 month sentence.

The bulk of that money, covering the 36 months Wong won't be serving, must be spent on helping the poor in the Salt Lake community, Greene said.

Wong will ask that the money be used to provide education to the four men he hired to commit the crime, Yengich said after the hearing.

Wong paid for the men's attorneys and earlier offered to educate them, according to testimony in court.

Siwiec, the only Utahn in the case, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Reginald Perrett and Sammie Rucker were sentenced to 27 months in prison. Bryon Murphy received a 41-month sentence because of his criminal history.

Perrett, Murphy and Rucker are black. The three have been incarcerated in jail while the Caucasian and Asian defendants have been free on bail.

Even though the three black men received credit for their 18 months in jail, they will still serve more time behind bars than any of the Caucasian or Asian defendants will.

"All the black defendants did get more time. You can read what you want out of that," said Las Vegas attorney John Spilotro, who represented Rucker.

Asked if the stiffer penalties for the black men bothered him, Yengich said, "Yeah. Sure it does. It troubles me a great deal." He blamed the disparity on the justice system.

Chase and a sixth defendant, Joseph Kleiman, will be sentenced later this month.