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Indicted ex-UTA board member makes first appearance in federal court

FILE - Developer Terry Diehl talks about the future development plans of the Tavaci gated community in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009. The former UTA board member accused of allegedly misrepresenting more than $1 million he made on a com
FILE - Developer Terry Diehl talks about the future development plans of the Tavaci gated community in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009. The former UTA board member accused of allegedly misrepresenting more than $1 million he made on a commuter rail real estate development to a bankruptcy court made his first appearance before a federal judge Friday.
Chen Wang, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A former UTA board member accused of allegedly misrepresenting more than $1 million he made on a commuter rail real estate development to a bankruptcy court made his first appearance before a federal judge Friday.

Terry Charles Diehl, 61, is charged in a 12-count indictment with filing a false declaration and concealing assets in connection with his Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

At his initial hearing Friday, Diehl pleaded not guilty to the charges.

While attorneys representing Diehl are pushing for a speedy trial, assistant U.S. attorney Mark Hirata said that with 190,000 pages of information collected so far, on top of evidence from Diehl's computers, will likely leave prosecutors asking to push back a 10-day jury trial scheduled for Sept. 8.

No motions were made to hold Diehl in custody awaiting the trial, or to restrict his travel or passport in the meantime.

Diehl, a high-profile Utah real estate developer, resigned from the Utah Transit Authority board under fire in 2011 over the sale of land for the Draper FrontRunner Station project.

Legislative auditors that year found that Diehl had a conflict of interest when he profited from the sale, making millions of dollars but less than $24 million on the deal.

After years of controversy, he was indicted in April, one day after the U.S. Attorney's Office announced an agreement to not prosecute the transit agency for any possible wrongdoing.

The potential penalty for each of the 12 counts is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said Friday.

In March 2012, Diehl filed bankruptcy for $41.7 million in debt — including $500,000 to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

According to prosecutors, several months before filing for bankruptcy, Diehl set up a company called Skyline Ventures Associates Inc., owned by his two daughters but managed by him. The indictment alleges that although the authorized signatories on the company account were his daughters and office manager, Diehl controlled and directed all funds in and out.

Diehl is accused of filing false declarations with the bankruptcy court, knowingly and fraudulently omitting or misrepresenting facts about Skyline Ventures and the funds he controlled in the account, according to the indictment.