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Alpine businessman Koerber seeks return of privileged documents

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for Alpine businessman Claud "Rick" Koerber filed motions Tuesday asking a federal judge to order the return of privileged documents they contend shouldn't have been used by the government in its investigation.

The documents in question were given to the Internal Revenue Service in 2007. Attorneys say Koerber was given 13 days to respond to a subpoena asking for "several broad categories of documents." In total, 57 boxes filled with 200,000 pages were turned over to the IRS, and defense attorney Marcus Mumford said about 222 documents that contained "defendant's privileged information," including employment, credit card and bank account records, were inadvertently submitted.

Koerber, 36, has been named in a 22-count indictment charging him with a number of crimes, including mail fraud, wire fraud, fraud in the offer and sale of securities, sale of unregistered securities, money laundering and tax evasion. All of the charges stem from an investment scheme prosecutors say Koerber operated from 2004 through 2008 that led to the loss of $100 million in investors' money.

Mumford said the government has refused to return the documents, and this "misconduct" on the part of the government is one of many he has encountered since taking on Koerber's case. The motion states the government "intruded" on Koerber's rights by interviewing his former lawyers without Koerber's knowledge, potentially in violation of attorney-client privilege.

"It's fair to say that we put a lot of time and effort into this, and we see this as, really, the first step in a very long process to ensure that the process is fair and the government plays by the rules," Mumford told the Deseret News.

Mumford said the lawyers are also working to determine if any privileged information might have been submitted to the grand jury as evidence.

e-mail: emorgan@desnews.com