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Ex-Utah County Commissioner sentenced for communications fraud

MATHESON COURTHOUSE – A former Utah County Commissioner who pleaded guilty to communications fraud learns his sentence.  He’s ordered to pay over $162 thousand in restitution.  He was also given five years of court supervised probation, but, that could be extended if he doesn’t pay the full amount in that time.

Gary Anderson was accused of pretending to be a high ranking official in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to defraud a construction company.  Prosecutors say Anderson, and Alan McKee of Benjamin, took in more than a million dollars.  Anderson’s attorney, Richard Van Wagoner, says, “Gary did some stupid stuff.  But, he’s got a big heart.  I really don’t think he intended to harm anyone.”

Both sides agreed Anderson would avoid time behind bars if he was able to pay $25 thousand in restitution by August 25th.  Anderson was able to collect that much, but, the judge had serious concerns about how he would earn money to pay the amount ordered.  Van Wagoner says Anderson’s children agreed to pay up to a thousand dollars a month until he gets a higher paying job.  “This has been going on for a long time and nobody in the family wanted it to continue on for another 60 days or six months,” Van Wagoner says.

However, even Anderson’s defense team isn’t sure how he’ll be able to earn a living.  He lost his license to practice law as part of the plea.  Van Wagoner says, “Even though, I think, he’s good in court, I don’t know how he is in terms of office organization or [being a paralegal].  But, in theory, he could do something like that.”

Inside the courtroom, Anderson asked if he could reach out to the victim to apologize.  Prosecutors say they’ll speak with the victim to see if he wants any contact with Anderson, but investigators say they don’t believe the victim wants that.