A jury trial for a California man has been scheduled in a case involving four counts of communications fraud as well as four counts of theft by deception. Kelly John Garrett will now face a three-day jury trial Sept. 9-11 in Seventh District Court. Judge Douglas Thomas will preside over the case.
According to former Price City Police Sergeant Robb Radley from the Price City Police Department, the charges relate to an online business scam operated by Garrett.
Radley explained that Garrett had operated two websites offering services, primarily grazing rights to unsuspecting individuals.
“He was using these websites to generate business, so to speak,” explained Radley. “He basically sold stuff he didn’t have to sell. It is more than just a case of bad business practice, it’s fraud.”
Land located in southern Utah near Torrey was being sold to cattle owners from several different states. Sgt. Radley explained that Garrett’s parents owned the land, which was said to be subdivided into various parcels used for grazing. Garrett leased the parcels and sold hay produced on the land but was never authorized to do so. “He never went through the legal process of having the land subdivided, yet he claimed it was part of a subdivision,” explained Radley. “He didn’t have the ability or authority to sell the products he was selling.”
A couple of local citizens fell victim to Garrett’s business tactics. “One victim goes as far as driving down to Torrey with a load of cattle, just to find out that there were no grazing rights to the property in question,” Sgt. Radley explained. “Meanwhile, out-of-pocket expenses continued to build for this victim.”
Upon investigation, the victim discovered previous fraud charge against Garrett. That is when the victim turned to local police for help. As Sgt. Radley looked into the matter, he discovered many more victims from several different states. He also found that an FBI agent in California is currently investigating Garrett’s business practices. “It is difficult to say how long he’s been at this,” Sgt. Radley stated. “But it’s been at least since 1998, when he was being investigated on similar charges.”
Garret was originally incarcerated in the Carbon County Jail on 19 counts of communication fraud stemming from incidents involving local residents.