Here are some examples of some Mormon leaders taking advantage of other Mormons.  Mormons are quite gullible in trusting authorities, especially those who are in church leadership positions.  Mormons make covenants in the Mormon temples to not speak evil of leaders.  This lack of information due to silence and willingness to trust leads to lives ruined.  There is social pressure within Mormonism to appear and to be financially successful.  This pressure often leads Mormons to make poor decisions as they seek quick or easy money.  Utah frequently leads the US in bankruptcies.

Val Southwick Ponzi Scheme - Bishop 2009

'...Investigators said Southwick swindled more than 800 people out of at least $140 million in a Ponzi scheme that lasted more than 20 years. Taylor said Southwick created 150 companies dubbed "VesCor," raising $180 million from investors for property developments.

Southwick lured investors with promises of high returns and traded on his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasizing that he was a "respectable LDS gentleman, who was more concerned about the consequences of the after-life than those in this life if he lied to investors," the Utah Division of Securities said in an investigative report.

Adam Titus once worked for Southwick, sold him property and lent him $1.1 million that's now gone.

"He said to me at the time that we probably do not need to have a contract at all," he said. "We can just go to the temple together and we can consummate our transaction there."... '

Travis L. Wright of Draper - 2011

Updated Mar 22, 2011

"The operator of what was allegedly the second-largest financial fraud in Utah history has been charged in a single federal fraud count for an operation that took in $167 million.

Travis L. Wright of Draper, who ran Waterford Funding, Waterford Loan Fund and related companies, was ordered Monday to appear in federal court in Salt Lake City Jan. 27 for an arraignment on the mail fraud charge.

Wright allegedly promised investors from Utah and other states up to a 44 percent annual return. But the charging document alleges he operated a Ponzi scheme in which monies from new investors were used to pay off debts to earlier investors to make it appear the companies were highly profitable....

Waterford is believed to be the largest financial fraud in Utah history after the VesCor companies operated by Ogden businessman Val E. Southwick"

Read more at:

Shawn Merriman Ponzi Scheme- Bishop 2010

Read more: Ponzi-schemer Merriman gets 12 1/2 years in prison - The Denver Post

Admitted Ponzi-schemer Shawn Merriman was sentenced Tuesday to 12 1/2 years in prison in an emotion-filled hearing that included an appeal from his mother, one of his victims, to "make him pay."

About 30 victims of Merriman's $20 million fraud packed a federal courtroom downtown for more than seven hours of testimony and arguments.

Six victims spoke to the court, expressing anger and outrage.

"He had me convinced he was an honest guy, that I could trust him. I put money in, and the rest is history. It's all gone," said Davis McCann of Parker, turning to Merriman. "I worked in construction for 20 years for $8 to $10 an hour. For every day I worked, . . . you stole it from me. Every dime."


R. Dean Udy, LDS Church Regional Representative 2010

In prison for running a Ponzi Scheme bilking fellow Mormons of over $20 Million.

Read more at:   Mormon631  

Anthony Vassallo 2009

"In California, the SEC said Vassallo told investors, many of whom he met in church, that he had developed a software program that allowed him to buy and sell options that generated profits of 3.5 percent a month with little risk."

Anthony Vassallo, 29, is accused of running a $40 million investment scam that bilked about 150 investors, many of whom he met through his Mormon church.

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Kleenmaid collapse (Australia) 2009

" What's more, chairman Andrew Young and his brother Brad were Mormons and that added to their image as upright and ethical members of the community."

Mortgage Fraud -

Sentenced were Bradley Grant Kitchen of Provo, David R. Bolick of Sandy, Steve Wells Cloward of Orem, Ron K. Clarke of Provo, and Jeffery David Garrett of Provo.......... The men were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2007 on charges they conspired to create a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud scheme involving a Utah County development that was originally thought to total $18 million in fraudulent loans.

Ted James Johnson Jr-

Investors believed in Giles County businesses
People who gave money to Ted James Johnson Jr. said he seemed to know what he was doing......It was not the cost but the deceit that bothers him, Charles Wayne Gentry said gently from the witness stand Thursday in federal court in Roanoke.
He'd gathered his savings, sold his house and store and counseled his wife and brother-in-law to put in their inheritance -- $724,000 in all -- only to see the money disappear in the collapse of Mountain Investments and Dogwood Farms, two businesses run by a pair of Giles County financial advisers indicted last year on 42 charges tied to securities fraud....
Johnson's investors included fellow Mormons from Giles County and beyond, teachers and university professors, and businessmen.

Read more at:

Leticia Avila - 2009

"Leticia Avila used her LDS Church connections and the promise of cooperation from a high-ranking immigration official to con $4,000 apiece from undocumented immigrants attempting to get legal visas, according to more than two dozen affidavits from victims.
Many of the alleged victims say what is most upsetting is that they were betrayed by someone who preyed on their religious faith. They trusted Avila because she was a fellow member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Spanish-speaking branch in Millcreek. In some cases, it was a local church leader who suggested they talk with Avila about becoming legal. "

Rick Koerber 2009

"Federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused an Alpine man of defrauding investors in a multimillion dollar real estate scheme.

U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman said Rick Koerber collected more than $100 million from investors but spent much of it on expensive cars, restaurants, movie making and his own housing. Tolman announced a three-count indictment of Koerber on Tuesday.

The number of victims, most of whom live in Utah, could be in the hundreds, said Tolman. But investigators have yet to determine which of Koerber's investors are "purely victims" and who may have "facilitated the crime," he said.

Koerber, who dubs himself a "Capitalist, Mormon, Dad" on his Web site, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Koerber was an ardent backer and donor to the school voucher movement in 2007. "

Posted by: m ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 01:12PM

Jeffrey Lane Mowen 2011

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Lindon man suspected of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme and defrauding investors out of more than $18 million pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court on Thursday.

Jeffrey Lane Mowen, 48, entered the plea as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. In exchange, prosecutors dropped two additional charges of wire fraud, as well as charges of solicitation to commit a crime of violence, tampering with a witness and retaliating against a witness.

Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah, said though Mowen will be sentenced later, his penalty has already been determined.

Read more at:


Posted by: Rod ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 01:12PM


His investors included his father, his brother-in-law, his neighbors, a car dealer, a builder whose son he coached in football, and others. Prosecutors say investors lost more than $20 million.

Posted by: hotwaterblue ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 01:13PM

Paul Dunn - a Mormon General Authority was involved in the 1970's

Grant Afleck took three of our neighbors for about $100K each back in the 70's. Paul Dunn was in attendance and the initial meeting of everyone of them. Fortunately all three of these men were not devastated financially but imagine how many were. Wow.


Posted by: Simone Stigmata ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 01:14PM


I have friends who were sucked up into this mess and lost a lot of money. There are some who refuse to go public because they are so embarrassed. This kind of stuff has been going around as long as I can remember. I think Palmer started out legit and then with time got carried away with greed and converted his business into a Ponzi scheme.

Utah and Southeastern Idaho are ripe for the picking. And they always have been. The mentality of the victims is made for these vultures.

Posted by: Lester Burnham ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 02:00PM


Of course the con artists themselves are low life bottom sucking scum, but why are people so gullible and willing to be influenced by these folks and take the risks?

One might argue that their actions are rooted in good old fashioned greed...if that's true, what it is about the Mormon culture that establishes/encourages/reinforces that motive?

Just wondering...

Posted by: Queen of Denial ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 03:49PM


Daren's dad was a very wealthy man in Rexburg. The Palmer name, while not always liked, was definitely respected. Now, his dad is an old man with nothing left, screwed over by his own son.

Horrible. Horrible. Horrible.

Posted by: fallible ( )
Date: May 27, 2011 06:40PM


Defrauded family members, friends and neighbors for millions in a real estate related ponzi scheme. Some 'investors' lost their homes while others lost their retirement or all their savings.

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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