Feds tie relic suspect to pyramid scheme

BLANDING, Utah, June 25 (UPI) -- A doctor who killed himself after being charged with looting and selling American Indian relics may have been part of a pyramid scheme, authorities said.

James Redd, 60, a physician and prominent figure in the small town of Blanding, Utah, may have been involved with his wife, Jeanne, "in a fraudulent scheme to obtain money from a multilevel marketing company," federal authorities said in a search-warrant affidavit. The affidavit does not name the company or identify any possible fraud victims, The Salt Lake Tribune of Salt Lake City reported.


The Redds were involved with Melaleuca Inc., said Blanding resident Phil Mueller, who has acted as the family spokesman.

Melaleuca is a $780 million nutritional, cosmetics and personal-care products company based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Its Web site denies it's a multilevel marketing scheme, a non-sustainable business model that's illegal in many countries, including the United States, the report said.

Redd was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning June 11, a day after being arrested for allegedly trafficking a tribal bird pendant.

A second suspect, Steven Shrader, 56, of Santa Fe, N.M., was found dead Friday in Shabbona, Ill., of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the local sheriff's department said.


Redd and Shrader were among 24 who were arrested as part of multiagency raid in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, ending a two-year undercover investigation in which a wiretapped FBI source recorded illegal transactions involving 256 native artifacts worth nearly $336,000, the Tribune said.

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