Foreign National Sentenced to 36 Months and Ordered to Pay Over $199,000 in Restitution for Gas Skimming Scheme in Utah and Idaho
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Multiple people were indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Utah for their participation in a fraudulent online scheme through which they obtained more than $100 million of credit and debit card processing from financial institutions and payment processors.
As charged in the indictment, the defendants allegedly committed 18 counts of criminal activity, including Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft and Money Laundering Aiding and Abetting.
According to the indictment, from at least January 2016 through April 2022, April Gren Bawden, 36, of Salt Lake County; Chad Austin Bawden, 43, of Salt Lake County; Makaio Lyman Crisler, 39, of Utah County; Phillip Gannuscia, 52, of Salt Lake County and Puerto Rico; Dustin Garr, 44, of Washington County; Barbara Jo Jackson, 69, of Utah County; Brent Goldburn Knudson, 42, of Utah County; Robert McKinley, 45, of Spokane, Washington; and Richard Scott Nemrow, 42, of Utah County, knowingly devised and executed a scheme and artifice to defraud, obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and omissions of material facts. The scheme involved the sale of dietary supplements that were sold to consumers using misleading and fraudulent practices. In order to effectuate their scheme, the defendants recruited and paid “straw owners” for use of their personal information to create sham LLCs to obtain merchant processing accounts for defendants to process the sales of the products. The proceeds of the scheme were transferred to the defendants, who then purchased items such as a Lamborghini Urus, a 2020 Porsche 911 convertible, and a 2021 Nautique Paragon boat.
U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah and IRS Criminal Investigation made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Jamie Thomas, Jennifer Muyskens, and Cy Castle from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah are prosecuting the case. Special Agents from IRS Criminal Investigations and FDA Office of Criminal Investigations are conducting the investigation.
Indictments are not findings of guilt. Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.
Public Affairs Specialist