Criminal Solicitation Charges for Elderly Utah Woman Who Hired a Hit Man

An elderly Utah woman is facing criminal solicitation charges after she hired a hit man to murder her former husband and his wife.

The angry ex-wife

Photo by: Victor

Photo by: Victor

69 year old Linda Gillman of Herriman Utah was arrested for criminal solicitation after police received information from someone stating the elderly Utah woman was trying to hire them to murder her ex-husband and his wife. Authorities then recorded multiple conversations between Gillman and the hired hit man where murder scenarios as well as funding for the hit were discussed. Police determined they had enough evidence to arrest Gillman for criminal solicitation.

Criminal solicitation

Utah Code 76-4-203 states: “An actor commits criminal solicitation if, with the intent that a felony be committed, he solicits, requests, commands, offers to hire, or importunes another person to engage in specific conduct that under the circumstance as the actor believes them to be would be a felony or would cause the other person to be a party to the commission of a felony. An actor may be convicted under this section only if the solicitation is made under circumstances strongly corroborative of the actor’s intent that the offense be committed.”

Penalties

Criminal Solicitation

Photo by: Money

The charges for hiring someone to commit a felony are severe, with penalties usually only one degree below those of the crime that is being contracted out. For instance, if someone hired another to commit a second degree felony, they would face a third degree felony. According to Utah Code 76-4-204, these charges of a lesser degree do not take place when the crime being solicited is murder; rape, object rape or sodomy of a child, or child kidnapping;

Don’t even think about it

Hiring someone else to do a person’s dirty work does not lessen the chance of criminal charges for that person who is soliciting a crime. In fact, an individual can face charges for criminal solicitation even if the crime was never carried out. They can be punished for their part in the hiring, planning, and funding of said crime. For those who have made the grave error to hire someone to commit a felony or for those who have accepted and carried out such felony, an experienced defense attorney is recommended.

Prohibited Merchandise at Flea Markets in Utah

Utah has nearly 30 flea markets and swap meets registered around the state and while most of the vendors obey the laws regarding items they can sell, occasionally prohibited merchandise is put up for sale.

Swap Meets and Flea Markets Act

Flea Markets

Photo by: Joel Kramer

The Swap Meets and Flea Markets Act found in Utah Code Title 13 Chapter 32 defines swap meets and flea markets act as “an event at which personal property is offered for sale or exchange:

(i) by two or more persons and a fee is charged to vendors ( . . . ) or to prospective buyers for admission ( . . . ); or

(ii) if the event is held more than six times in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of [vendors] or the absence of fees.”

If swap meets or flea markets are done to raise money for a fundraiser such as a charity event or if the items sold are new and being sold by a representative of the manufacturer, then these instances would not need to be regulated under the Swap Meets and Flea Markets Act.

Prohibited Merchandise

Flea Markets

Photo by: gastondog

Almost anything can be found at a flea market, however there are three specific types of merchandise that are prohibited:

Baby food. Utah Code 13-32-103 states “food product which is manufactured and packaged specifically for consumption by a child under two years of age” is not to be sold by vendors, unless they are a distributor from the company.

Over the counter drugs. According to 13-32-103, “nonprescription or over-the-counter drug or medications other than herbal products, dietary supplements, botanical extracts, or vitamins” are also prohibited.

Makeup or toiletries that can expire. Upon first glance at the last sentence of the section, a reader might assume they mean makeup or toiletries that are past their expiration. Surprisingly it states any “cosmetic or personal care product that has an expiration date.” If there is a date stamp, it cannot be sold at swap meets.

Caution to vendors

Transaction Receipts

Photo by: Steven Depolo

For those who choose to use flea markets as a business opportunity or a side gig, it is important that they follow the above rules concerning prohibited merchandise as well as the rules in place regarding receipts and transaction records. Failure to follow swap meet and flea market laws can result in an infraction.

Pyramid Scheme and Multi-Level Marketing

When people learn of a business that encourages recruiting they often assume it to be a pyramid scheme, when in fact it may just be another multi-level marketing company. While both may give incentives to their reps for recruiting others, one is illegal while the other is simply frowned upon by those not trusting of “get rich quick” ventures.

Pyramid Scheme Act

Photo by: Stephen Day

Photo by: Stephen Day

Utah’s Pyramid Scheme Act defines a pyramid scheme as “any sales device or plan under which a person gives consideration to another person in exchange for compensation or the right to receive compensation which is derived primarily from the introduction of other persons into the sales device or plan rather than from the sale of goods, services, or other property.” Anytime the recruiting is the only reason or main purpose of the business, versus selling products or services, charges for violation of the Pyramid Scheme Act may result.

Multi-level Marketing

Photo by: That Hartford Guy

Photo by: That Hartford Guy

Multi-marketing businesses, otherwise known as direct-sales or network marketing, suffer from the bad reputation of pyramid schemes as they have similar business approaches. Multi-level marketing mimics a pyramid scheme model since the business thrives when recruits are encouraged to sign on. Those recruits can recruit others and so on. Those individuals who are higher up the recruiting ladder earn money from those on lower levels. This may sound exactly like a pyramid scheme, however the money that those in multi-marketing businesses make isn’t made strictly by recruiting; there is actually a product to be sold. In fact, most of the income is made from the sale of products or service. Certainly, those at the top earn more money in the long run than those who are newly recruited, but the business plan is appropriate and legal.

Trouble for genuine businesses

Photo by: Ben Helps

Photo by: Ben Helps

Multi-level marketing is usually done from home, online, or door to door sales. Unfortunately, because multi-level marketing representatives don’t have a specific business location or warehouse where products are stored, it may be harder to prove that their business has a product to sell. Not having the product on hand can make it difficult to prove that it is an authentic business, versus a pyramid scheme. This is especially difficult for businesses that are just starting out, and may not have thought out their product thoroughly. Many play it safe by hopping on the bandwagon of some of the major well-known multi-level marketing companies such as:

• Avon
• Mary Kay
• Scentsy
• Melaleuca
• Herbalife
• Amway
• The Pampered Chef
• doTerra
• Synergy

Others with an entrepreneur spirit choose to create their own business or go with companies that are just getting started. This is where many run a risk of facing pyramid scheme charges.

Penalties for running a pyramid scheme

According to Utah Code 76-6a-4 or the Pyramid Scheme Act, “Any person who knowingly organizes, establishes, promotes, or administers a pyramid scheme is guilty of a third degree felony.” Persons charged with a 3rd degree felony may face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Jail time just for participating

Photo by: my_southborough

Photo by: my_southborough

Time behind bars isn’t only for those who are the masterminds of the pyramid schemes. Up to six months in jail can result from a person who merely joins the illegal business model. This is also discussed in Utah Code 76-6a-4. “Any person who participates in a pyramid scheme only by receiving compensation for the introduction of other persons into the pyramid scheme rather than from the sale of goods, services, or other property is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.” When creating or joining a multi-level marketing company, make certain that the company is doing everything possible to avoid pyramid scheme charges. For individuals who planned a business before considering the product, or for those who got caught up in a scheme that turned out to be illegal, contact a criminal defense attorney.