FARMINGTON -- Prosecutors are not convinced a Salt Lake County attorney is dead.
That is why they asked 2nd District Court Judge John R. Morris on Monday to issue a no-bail warrant for Thomas R. Blonquist, 72.
Blonquist is charged with two counts of securities fraud, one count of theft and one count of exploitation of a disabled or elder adult, all second-degree felonies. Investigators said Blonquist stole nearly $250,000 in 2006 from a Davis County woman who was in her 80s.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he began hearing rumors about three weeks ago that Blonquist had died in China.
Blonquist, who represented himself at his last court hearing in June, said he was working on a business venture and was planning to travel to China. If the business venture was successful, he would have a check for the woman by Aug. 15.
Morris had set Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 for a jury trial. But based on the rumors, Morris has now canceled the trial until investigators can prove whether Blonquist is alive or dead.
Rawlings said the county attorney's investigator, Craig Webb, is working with the American Consulate in China to determine if Blonquist has died.
But Rawlings admits he is skeptical and that is why he asked for a no-bail warrant and not for the charges to be dismissed.
"Do I think (Blonquist) faked his death?" Rawlings said. "Sad as it sounds, it would surprise me more if he actually passed away."
Blonquist is facing the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if he is convicted of all four second-degree felonies, Rawlings said. Even though every second-degree felony carries the possible sentence of one to 15 years in Utah State Prison, Utah law only allows a judge to sentence a person convicted of multiple second-degree felonies to serve a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Rawlings said the victim in the case is still protected.
Blonquist had signed a promissory note before he left for China that allows the victim to collect restitution from his estate, Rawlings said.