OGDEN -- Chad Bennett Reid was arraigned Wednesday on multiple fraud charges of bilking investors officials say he lined up while serving as their LDS bishop in a singles ward at Weber State University.
Reid, 57, is charged with three counts of securities fraud and one count of racketeering, or engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity.
All are second-degree felonies alleged to have taken place from November 2005 through July 2007. Each carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
The charges were filed last month by the Utah Attorney General's Office instead of local prosecutors because the listed victims hail from multiple counties.
Free on $45,000 bail, Reid was arraigned Wednesday afternoon before 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones. The results of the session were not immediately available, but Reid has been appointed a public defender, as he is apparently unable to hire his own attorney.
According to charging documents, Reid was the bishop of the WSU Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 14th Ward young single adult's ward during the time of the criminal behavior.
Many among the alleged 31 victims of Reid "attended Reid's congregation or came to know Reid through a shared acquaintance in his church," reads a probable cause affidavit filed by Adam Sweet, an investigator with the Utah Division of Securities.
"Some investors served closely with Reid in church callings and said Reid often spoke about the investment opportunity while they worked together at church."
In all, investors gave Reid approximately $270,500, which he promised would pay a 100 percent return in a year, according to the allegations.
He allegedly only paid $38,294 in returns, including a $25,000 single payment to one investor who had invested $75,000 in Reid's companies called "NetFundz" and "Saveclick."
The former was a business through which Reid said he handled charitable-giving programs for such giants as Wal-Mart or Comcast, and the latter managed student loans for large lending institutions.
The 27-page probable cause statement made no mention of whether the companies actually operated, and prosecutors did not immediately return calls.
Reid's pitch was to also offer investors a percentage ownership in the companies, which he promised would eventually sell for $50 million to $500 million.
At one point, Reid told investors that big-time entrepreneurs wanted in on his companies but he declined their offers, because, according to charging documents, he was "purposefully targeting those he felt were the little guys, because they were the ones that could benefit the most."