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Jeremy Johnson hit with mail fraud charges

PHOENIX, June 13 (UPI) -- Federal authorities said Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson was arrested on mail fraud charges related to online businesses already cited in a civil case.

The Federal Trade Commission has already sued Johnson and his online businesses, I Works Inc. and Elite Debit, charging the companies duped customers out of $289 million by making false claims about their ability to help consumers obtain government grants, the Las Vegas Sun reported Monday.

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The new charges, filed by the Internal Revenue Service, accuse Johnson of using the U.S. mail to dupe "hundreds of thousands of consumers" through false advertising.

The FTC civil case, the Sun reported, has revealed Johnson lost $1.35 million in casino gambling over a period of five years, 2006 though 2011, and another $1.5 million at an online gambling Web site, Full Tilt Poker, over the course of seven months in 2010.

Johnson is well known in Utah for using his fleet of planes for rescue and humanitarian missions.

Johnson was arrested at the Phoenix airport boarding a plane for Costa Rica. The IRS contends Johnson "has substantial resources in other countries including real estate holdings in Belize and the Philippines."

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