FARMINGTON -- Multiple victims plus multiple charges equaled prison time for a 39-year-old man who hoped he would receive probation.
"We have repetitive criminal conduct, multiple charges and multiple persons who are victims," said Judge John Morris. "We also have exploitation of a position of trust with a substantial amount of money."
Morris said, after hearing from a victim, the defendant and the attorneys, there was only sentence that fit the crimes committed despite a lenient recommendation by Adult Probation and Parole of probation and jail time.
Morris sentenced Stewart Ian Rodgers, of Layton, on Monday to serve concurrently three terms of 1 to 15 years at the Utah State Prison and four terms of up to 5 years at the prison.
Rodgers had pleaded guilty on Aug. 26 to one count of a fraudulent scheme to obtain fees or service, one count of communication fraud and one count of theft by deception, all second-degree felonies. He also pleaded guilty to one count of forgery and two counts of attempted distribution of a controlled substance, third-degree felonies.
Rodgers was arrested and charged for the fraud charges in December of 2012 after the Utah Department of Insurance Fraud Division launched an investigation.
According to a statement in support of a guilty plea filed in court, Rodgers admits to creating fraudulent insurance policies and accepting payments for insurance premiums from three small businesses. When confronted by the businesses, Rodgers then wrote checks from a personal account that had been closed for a year.
Rodgers "fraudulently obtained $22,481," according to the document.
Assistant Attorney General Shelly Coudreaut said in the hearing she was concerned for Rodgers because he "clearly defrauded the victims, then wrote checks on a closed checking account."
She also said Rodgers was not being truthful about his drug addiction, but instead "plays the victim" by blaming the outside factors like the collapsing economy, bill collectors and business partners for his problems.
Only one of the victims of the insurance fraud came to the hearing. Coudreaut said the others were "uncomfortable and feared retaliation" from Rodgers.
Ryan Rasmussen said he lost his business because of Rodgers.
"He knows what to say," Rasmussen said. "He might take responsibility now, now he's in front of you."
Rodgers was also arrested in November of 2012 by the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force after an undercover officer bought oxycodone pills from Rodgers three times between Aug. 16, 2012, and Oct. 11, 2012, according to court documents.
Coudreaut said officers found notebooks with Rodgers that listed who owed him money for drugs and who he owned money to for drugs.
Rodgers was dressed in a suit on Monday for the sentencing hearing.
He said to the judge he was "very concerned about talking directly to you, your honor. I'm am concerned what I say will be misinterpreted."
Rodgers, who told the judge he had served 10 years in the military and also two years as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, went on to say he understands he broke the law, but had hoped to "correct my failures without it haunting me."
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252, email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaParkSE.