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Press Release

Two Washington County Residents Indicted after Allegedly Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah
Lead defendant also indicted in financial fraud case that obtained $2.5M from investors

St. George, Utah – A defendant in a financial crimes case appeared in federal court today following the return of an indictment by a federal grand jury in St. George after he and another defendant allegedly ran an unlicensed money transmitting business where bulk cash was converted into crypto currency. 

Last week, Brian Garry Sewell, 52 of Washington County, Utah and Puerto Rico, was arrested in Salt Lake City. Keen Lee Ellsworth, 57, of Toquerville, Utah, is scheduled to appear in court for his initial appearance on the indictment June 24, 2024. 

According to court documents, Sewell and Ellsworth participated in a scheme from March 2020 to September 2020 where they managed an unlicensed money transmitting business without registering it as required by law. Ellsworth used his entity, Ellsworth & Associates, to send more than $2.5 million to Sewell in dozens of transactions. Sewell then used his entity, Rockwell Capital Management, to convert the funds into cryptocurrency. Neither Ellsworth & Associates nor Rockwell Capital Management obtained a license to operate a money transmitting business. 

In addition, from June 2020 to May 2021, Sewell used Rockwell Capital Management to transfer over $2.6 million on behalf of a separate entity. Sewell received the funds via wire transfer and then converted the funds into cryptocurrency. 

In a separate case, Sewell also appeared in court today after he was indicted last week by a federal grand jury charging him with multiple federal crimes, including wire fraud, false statement in connection with loans, and money laundering (case # 4:24-cr-00055).

According to court documents, from December 2017 to April 2024, Sewell engaged in a scheme to obtain money from investors by lying about his experience, education, and ability to generate large returns. As a result, Sewell’s fraudulent behavior led to him obtaining at least $2.5 million. For example, Sewell falsely claimed to investors that he ran previous cryptocurrency funds that generated significant returns; that he received a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree from Stanford University; that he generated high returns with little risk of loss; and concealed from investors that he used Rockwell Capital Management as an unlicensed money transmitting business. 

As alleged in the indictment, in July 2020, Sewell fraudulently submitted a mortgage application to a mortgage lending company in connection with a federally insured home mortgage. He did so, for example, by submitting a fabricated W-2 that stated his 2019 wages were $180,000; submitting a fabricated earnings statement from Rockwell Capital Management that stated his 2020 wages were $15,000 per month; and stated he had 22 years of schooling, when in fact he had obtained a GED and did not complete college. 

Sewell is also accused of making false statement to Chartway Federal Credit Union to influence their approval on a loan application. For example, Sewell submitted a fabricated W-2 stating his 2019 and 2020 wages were $350,000 each year, and he stated in this application that his 2021 wages from Rockwell Capital Management were $175,000 through June 2021. 

Sewell and Ellsworth are both charged with conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transmitting business. Sewell is also charged with unlicensed money transmitting business, and theft of government property. Additionally, in case 4:24-cr-00055, Sewell is charged with wire fraud, false statements designed to influence the Federal Housing Administration or a mortgage lending business, false statements designed to influence a federally insured credit union, and money laundering – spending. 

United States Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah made the announcement.

Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen P. Dent and Jennifer Muyskens of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah are prosecuting the case. 

The case is being investigated jointly the FBI Salt Lake City Field Office, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. For more information about OCDETF, please visit

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 


Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(801) 325-3237
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Updated June 20, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-72