A Utah businessman who was a key figure in an influence-peddling scandal that ensured two former attorneys general is expected to be his own attorney in a trial that starts Monday



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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah businessman who was a key figure in an influence-peddling scandal that ensured two former attorneys general is expected to be his own attorney in a trial that starts Monday.

Jeremy Johnson is facing allegations that he set up a series of straw companies to make millions of dollars in fraudulent credit card charges.

Federal investigators say Johnson's company lured consumers into memberships for bogus government grants, then kept charging their credit cards. His lawyers have faulted other companies he worked with.

Before the case was filed, Johnson was a well-known Utah philanthropist who donated generously to charities and used his personal aircraft to aid search-and-rescue operations.

Johnson's allegations about back-channel payments touched off a scandal that led to charges against former Utah attorneys general John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff. They deny wrongdoing.

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