Taylor Pleads Guilty to Contempt of Court after Forging Letter to Avoid Reporting to Federal Prison
SALT LAKE CITY – Jason Taylor, age 42, of Highland, Utah, convicted last year of bilking thousands of credit card customers and the banks that issued the credit cards out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, pleaded guilty to contempt of court Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court.
Taylor was involved in in two separate fraud schemes timed a little more than a year apart. In the first one, the credit cards of about 90,000 consumers were billed approximately $38 each for diet pills they never ordered. The banks caught onto the second fraud quickly and shut down the account, but not before more than 48,000 customers’ cards were billed approximately $70 each for a non-existent online coaching scheme.
He pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and one count of making a false statement to a bank in May of last year.
U.S. District Judge David Sam imposed a sentence of 40 months in federal prison in November and ordered Taylor to serve 60 months of supervised release when he finished his prison sentence. Additionally, Judge Sam ordered him to forfeit almost $600,000 in proceeds from his criminal conduct.
According to Tuesday’s plea agreement on the contempt of court charge, follow Taylor’s sentencing hearing in November he asked to be allowed to report to prison in March 2017. Judge Sam allowed Taylor to remain out of custody over the holidays and ordered him to report to a facility designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 27, 2017. Taylor received notification of his prison designation on Jan. 4, 2017.
Taylor admitted that on Jan. 11, 2017, his attorney filed a motion to postpone his reporting date indefinitely to allow for surgeries and a heart condition. The motion from his attorney was followed a day later by a letter purporting to be from a doctor identified in the plea agreement as Dr. R.R. The letter detailed some medical issues and recommended Taylor not be required to report to prison on his designated day of Jan. 27, 2017.
As a part of his plea agreement, Taylor admitted he wrote the letter purporting to be from Dr. R.R., using the doctor’s name, title, phone number, and professional address without his prior knowledge or authorization. He admitted he transferred it by electronic means to his attorney, knowing his attorney would submit it to the court. He admitted he forged and submitted the letter from Dr. R.R. with the purpose and intent of avoiding reporting to prison as ordered.
Taylor was arrested on a violation of supervised release in January and on Jan. 18, 2017, Judge Sam found him in violation of his pretrial release and ordered him held in custody.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson presided at the change of plea hearing Tuesday and sentenced Taylor to 12 months in federal prison for the contempt of court conviction. The 12-month sentence will be served consecutive to the 40-month sentence Taylor initially received.
“Not only did this defendant misrepresent himself to fraud victims, he perpetrated a lie upon the federal court. His blatant dishonesty cost him one more year in federal prison,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City is prosecuting the Taylor case. The case is being investigated by inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and special agents of the U.S. Secret Service.