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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jury Convicts DBSI Principals Of Fraud

U.S. Attorney Commends Work and Career of FBI SA Morse

BOISE - A federal jury in Boise today returned guilty verdicts against four DBSI principals, Douglas L. Swenson, Mark Ellison, David D. Swenson, and Jeremy S. Swenson on multiple fraud charges, announced U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. The jury convicted Douglas Swenson, 65, of Eagle, Idaho, on thirty-four counts of wire fraud and forty-four counts of securities fraud. The jury convicted Ellison, 65, of Boise, David Swenson, 36, of Boise, and Jeremy Swenson, 41, of Meridian, on forty-four counts of securities fraud. The jury returned not guilty verdicts on the thirty-four wire fraud counts against Ellison, David Swenson and Jeremy Swenson and on two conspiracy counts. During the forty-two day trial, the United States presented evidence that the defendants publicly represented that DBSI was a profitable company and had a net worth in excess of $105 million when they knew that DBSI's real estate and non-real estate business activities were universally unprofitable.

No sentencing date has been set.

Olson issued the following statement after the verdict was returned:

“The jury’s verdicts finding Douglas Swenson, Mark Ellison, David Swenson and Jeremy Swenson guilty of fraud send a strong message that those who seek to induce investors to trust them, often with hundreds of thousands of dollars, have a clear obligation to be open and transparent and to make full disclosure about the financial condition of their business. Our financial system, indeed our markets, relies on such full disclosure. The U.S. Department of Justice is pleased that these defendants have been found responsible for the frauds they perpetrated and the losses they caused. They will have a firm restitution obligation to their defrauded victims, DBSI investors.

The jury’s verdicts show that the jurors listened carefully and thoughtfully to the evidence that was presented, the attorneys’ arguments and the Court’s instructions. They are to be commended for their long and deliberate service to our criminal justice system. They have performed an important duty in our democracy. I thank them.

I also commend the outstanding work of the trial team, AUSAs Ray Patricco, George Breitsameter, and Justin Whatcott, Tax Division trial attorney Mark Williams, paralegal Denise Price from my office and numerous others who provided support for the longest federal criminal trial in this district for at least two decades. Finally, I commend the work of the investigative agencies, and particularly the strong work of agents from IRS, criminal investigations and of FBI Special Agent Rebekah Morse. All of these outstanding federal government employees spent countless hours, sacrificing time with their families and loved ones, during challenging work conditions.

Having said that, let me be clear, the human price of this case was too high. FBI Special Agent Rebekah Morse was an outstanding agent and person. In her less than four years as an agent, all stationed in Boise, she played a critical role in almost every significant white collar prosecution, including three successful trials in the last twelve months. She displayed enormous integrity, intelligence, and honesty. She worked harder and better than any young, new agent I have seen in my more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor. Her vast ability was exceeded only by her great humor and joy. She was a tremendously warm and caring human being who held herself to the highest of standards, gave much to all around her and expected and asked for little in return.

As the United States has maintained in argument to the court and in its pleadings, we believe that Rebekah Morse was truthful in her responses to the Court and that a full examination of the facts warrants that conclusion. We understand and respect that the Court saw this differently. Rebekah Morse was greatly respected. She will be greatly missed.

We will not take any questions, and the United States will make no further statements in this case prior to the sentencing.”

Updated December 15, 2014