SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 22, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A former Utah County commissioner, along with a Utah businessman, have each been charged with communications fraud for allegedly posing as officials from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to probable cause documents filed in 3rd District Court by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, ex-commissioner Gary Jay Anderson, 68, and businessman Alan Dean McKee, 56, were both charged with three second-degree felony counts of communications fraud and one second-degree felony count of taking part in a pattern of illegal activity.
Each charge carries a sentence of one to 15 years in prison.
Investigators say the men were pretending to be officials from the LDS Church in an attempt to convince Ames Construction to invest in the Tintic Rail Line project, a sprawling industrial park to be built in Elberta, Utah.
The A.G.’s office claims McKee sent letters and e-mails to Ames while using a fake letterhead from Suburban Land Reserve, one of LDS Church’s real estate acquisition and development wings.
Investigators say the letters fraudulently represented the church was in favor of the Tintic Rail Line Project. One letter was represented as being written and signed by Elder Gary E. Stevenson, former presiding bishop of the LDS Church and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Investigators say Anderson followed up with phone calls to Ames Construction in which he claimed to be Elder Stevenson.”
Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement Monday.
“Two individuals have been charged with fraud for claiming to be or represent (then) Bishop Gary E. Stevenson during their business dealings. Elder Stevenson was serving as the presiding bishop of the church at that time. He does not know these individuals, has never spoken with them, and was completely unaware of their activities. The church alerted authorities as soon as it learned of the matter, and Elder Stevenson has provided a statement to prosecutors confirming that he was involved in this brazen scheme, which attempted to misuse the good name of the church and the office of the presiding bishop.”
Alan McKee is the owner of the Ophir Mineral and Aggregate Company. The organization was named Utah County’s Business of the Year in 2011.
Gary Anderson is a practicing Utah defense attorney. He served as Utah County commissioner in the mid-1980s and again from 2006 to 2014.