SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church will return $150,000 of tithing paid by a man who pleaded guilty to taking nearly $25 million from 5,400 victims.
A former CNBC guest expert on wealth management, Curtis DeYoung of Draper, took the money from individual retirement accounts. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison last fall and ordered to repay the money.
DeYoung had paid $239,755 in tithing to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his wife, Michelle DeYoung. She was not charged, but the Securities and Exchange Commission named her in a suit seeking to recover funds from American Pension Services, which she owned with her husband.
The court appointed a receiver to recover funds, and the receiver sued the church for the return of the tithing donations.
"As you can imagine, when the church is asked to return tithing funds, there's an existing, careful process for doing so," LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. "In this case, that has been complicated by the fact that there was a request for the return of tithing from a family member who did not plead guilty to the charges. So it takes time and discussion, but the church has cooperated fully in the negotiation of a settlement."
In federal court, the church argued that any amounts tithed by Michelle DeYoung were not recoverable and that the receiver would need to show that each transfer of money from APS to the DeYoungs was fraudulent.
It also said it would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment for the court to assess the value of personal and spiritual benefits received by the DeYoungs in connection with the donations.
The church and the receiver agreed to a $150,000 settlement. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby accepted the settlement on May 25.