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Ex-mayor jail-bound for fraud

Springville man didn’t raise the restitution money by deadline

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PROVO — The former mayor of Springville must report to the Utah County Jail on April 1, after failing to provide $137,000 in restitution that was due by the end of January.

James Brent Haymond, 69, was sentenced Nov. 15 on three second-degree felony charges of securities fraud, third-degree felony securities fraud and theft by deception charges and a class A misdemeanor charge of selling an unregistered security.

Haymond, who also formerly served in the Utah Legislature, pleaded no contest to the charges in July 2005 after failing to provide promised returns on money he persuaded friends and co-workers to invest in supposed humanitarian projects in China. Haymond was sentenced to 120 days in jail at the November court appearance with the sentence stayed until Tuesday to allow him time to repay more than $275,000 that was invested in the bogus program.

Court documents state that in 1998, Haymond began encouraging investors to donate money toward building power plants in China, purchasing airplanes for the Chinese government and growing alfalfa crops in China, to help encourage a relationship between the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Chinese government. Investors never received a return on their money.

In agreements reached at the time of sentencing, prosecutors said they would allow Haymond to stay out of jail and eventually have the felony charges dropped to class A misdemeanors if he repaid investors about $134,000 — about half the money investigators say was invested in the plan.

During a court hearing Tuesday, Haymond's attorney, Randy Spencer, said his client, who is retired, was unable to raise the needed money. Deputy Utah County attorney Curtis Larson said getting restitution for the investors was the primary motivation for allowing Haymond to remain free.

Haymond was given the option on Tuesday of serving 60 days of straight jail time, or 120 days of jail with work release. Spencer said Haymond hasn't made a decision yet.

If Haymond is able to raise the restitution amount before April 1, Spencer said he will seek another hearing to ask the court to reconsider the jail requirement. Whether Haymond serves jail time or not, he remains responsible for the restitution amount over the course of his 36-month probation period, which began at his November sentencing, Spencer said.

If Haymond doesn't make restitution, said Larson, the judge could extend the probation time, impose more jail time or push the amount into a civil claim.

Court documents say Haymond was working with a man identified as Gen Yee Lin while seeking the investment money. The documents say Lin claimed he had influential ties with the Chinese government that would help with the projects.

The money was to be invested in certificates of deposit from the Bank of China, then placed in a U.S. Treasury Mid-Term Note trading program, the documents state. The program promised extremely large returns, which would be used to buy planes or alfalfa seeds and reimburse the investors, according to court documents.

Lin, who is believed to be in China, is currently the target of an ongoing investigation by the Utah County Attorney's Office. He has yet to be charged.

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com