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Closing Arguments In St. George Businessman Trial

Lawyers are giving closing arguments in the fraud case against a Utah businessman who was a key figure in an influence-peddling scandal that ensnared two former attorneys general.

Federal prosecutor Jason Burt said Thursday in Salt Lake City that Jeremy Johnson's company lied to banks to create shell companies after credit card companies blacklisted them over customer complaints. Johnson denies lying to anyone, saying he was transparent about trying to fix problems with consumers asking for refunds.

Closing arguments are expected to last two days.

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

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