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Koerber ‘relieved’, state official ‘appalled’ after charges in case thrown out

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The man known to Utahns as the Latter Day Capitalist is walking away a free man.

The $48 million Ponzi scheme charges against Rick Koerber have been thrown out of court for good.

Friday, Koerber blasted prosecutors, but the woman in charge of the agency that took the case to the feds is firing back.

Francine Giani, the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce, said she is appalled. Rick Koerber said what's absurd is the allegations that he ran a Ponzi scheme and bilked investors out of millions.

"I spent 5 years fighting false allegations, and if you think I'm going to sit back and watch the newspaper continue to spread false allegations passively, you've got another thing coming," said Koerber during a news conference Friday afternoon. "It is absurd to anyone who looks at the records to suggest that this business was a Ponzi scheme."

On Thursday, a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups, dismissed the case saying there were "several instances of questionable ethical conduct in prosecuting this case."

The judge said partly because of the speedy trial act, the case had to be thrown out.

"I am far from upset. I am relieved," Koerber said.

The woman who launched the initial investigation is anything but. Giani first took the case to former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. He did nothing, so she went to federal prosecutors. News of the dismissal prompted this statement, saying in part, "I am appalled...I do not anticipate ever referring cases to federal prosecutors again. I am disappointed so many victims involved in this massive fraud did not receive justice.”

In a text conversation with FOX 13 News, when Shurtleff was asked why prosecutors took so long, he wrote "I don't know. I just know that we didn't prosecute him because my staff attorneys said the evidence was insufficient to charge him."

He also texted, "I've been telling media for five years he never contributed any money to my campaign, and I did him no favors."

In the meantime, Koerber is demanding his name be cleared publicly.

"I am saying false allegations by a media organization after the record of this case really has no place in civil society; I think you have an obligation to tell the truth," Koerber said.

He went on to say financially his world has been much different for his family. He's been working as a paralegal all these years, adding this probably won't be the last time the public hears from him.

Acting U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen released the following statement regarding Koerber:

"We share Ms. Giani's disappointment with the dismissal of a case that impacts so many victims.  We strongly disagree, however, with her comments concerning the competence and integrity of the prosecutors in this case and regret that she was not better informed about the case before making her public comments."