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Federal Election Commission

Trial opens for Utah businessman at center of scandal

A Utah businessman who made headlines as a helicopter-flying philanthropist before he became a key figure in an influence-peddling scandal that ensnared two former attorneys general went on trial for fraud on Monday, acting as his own attorney.

Jeremy Johnson, 40, is accused of creating dozens of shell companies so his online company could keep making millions of dollars in questionable credit card charges. Federal investigators say Johnson's company I Works lured consumers into memberships for bogus government grants and other moneymaking schemes, then kept charging their credit cards. When people started asking credit card companies for refunds, the credit card companies...