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Investigators say $59M scheme targeted Utah County

PROVO (Deseret News) — Freeze! Nobody move (that property).

That's the order 4th District Judge Fred Howard gave last week as prosecutors pursue charges in an alleged $59 million Ponzi scheme.

In an unusual pre-emptive strike, investigators moved to block suspects from selling or transferring real estate and vehicles valued at almost $2.3 million. It is a tactic normally employed when charges are filed in a white-collar criminal probe, which typically takes years to complete.

But by that time, the assets are often long gone.

Prosecutors want to do all they can to prevent that in what has become one of the largest scams Utah County has ever seen, said Jeff Robinson, chief investigator for the Utah County Attorney's Office.

"This will be one of the bigger ones," he said. "At this point, we have the documentation. Because there are hundreds of victims, we're still trying to catch up on those, and it's so big."

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