Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid denies he played a role in a scheme that involved him receiving a payment from a businessman in order to make a federal investigation vanish. Businessman Jeremy Johnson claims that a top official in the Utah attorney general's office arranged a scheme that would pay $600,000 to an acquaintance of Reid, reported Business Week on Jan. 14.
Johnson is being accused of being the ring-leader of a $350 million software scheme and he told media sources that he thought Reid would interfere in an ongoing investigation into his business. Federal prosecutors believe that Johnson's company was unlawfully billing customers after sending them a supposedly risk-free trial. Authorities arrested him at an airport with over $26,000 on him along with a one-way ticket to Costa Rica.
Johnson plead not guilty to charges of bank fraud and money laundering and now the case will go to trial. If Johnson is convicted, he faces the possibility of spending decades in prison. Right now he is out of jail after posting a $2.8 million bond. Shortly after the lawsuit against him was filed, Johnson said he asked Utah Attorney General, John Swallow, to return a portion of the money he says he paid to someone connected to Reid. Swallow denies these allegations and he believes Johnson is just trying to turn attention away from himself.