SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah businessman accused of running a $350 million fraud scheme has pleaded not guilty to 86 counts of fraud and money laundering.
Jeremy Johnson entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
Four of his business associates -- Scott Leavitt, Bryce Payne, Ryan Riddle and Loyd Johnston-- also pleaded not guilty at the arraignment.
Federal prosecutors have accused Johnson, 37, of using his Internet-based businesses to fraudulently enroll millions of people in get-rich schemes by charging their credit cards without authorization.
During his hour and half arraignment Wednesday, Johnson sat next to his attorney and listened intently to the proceedings, sometimes holding his chin in one hand.
A federal grand jury issued a new indictment against the St. George businessman last month after he rejected a plea bargain in January. Johnson, who previously had just three counts, faces 86 charges under the new indictment. It had previously been reported that he would face 85 counts.
If convicted, Johnson could face decades in prison and millions in fines.
The new indictment also added the four business associates who weren't previously defendants in the case.
Media attention to Johnson's case skyrocketed in recent months after he accused Utah Attorney General John Swallow of orchestrating a high-level bribery scheme to derail a federal investigation. Swallow has denied the allegations.
Johnson and the other four defendants are not being held in custody but are barred from traveling outside the continental United States pending a trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner on Wednesday also set an April 20 deadline for attorneys on both sides to agree to a gag order in the case. Warner has said he intends to issue a gag order against the defendants, but in the meantime, he's asked that they not discuss the case publically.
The U.S. Attorney's Office requested in January that the judge formally bar Johnson from talking publically or to the media about the case, arguing that Johnson was engaging in a campaign against the government.
U.S. Attorney David Barlow said Johnson was using a blog, website and Salt Lake City media outlets to "publicly accuse the government of various misdeeds" and "litigate his case publicly rather than in the courtroom."
Johnson's attorneys and those representing the other defendants must agree on the draft of a gag order within 10 days.
A status hearing in the case is scheduled for June 13.