Former Mormon Bishop and Art Collector Will Spend 12 years in Prison

Today there was yet another article about an individual who held a position of trust in the LDS Church and used that position to commit fraud.  U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger sentenced  Shawn Merriman to 12½ years in federal prison this afternoon for defrauding 67 victims out of $21 million.  Merriman was a Bishop in the LDS Church in Colorado and raised the money from friends, neighbors and fellow church members.  The government seized roughly $4 million in fine art , antique cars, sports memorabilia and animal trophies collected on his safari trips when they arrested him.

One of my favorite parts of this story is the fact that before he was caught Mr. Merriman put together some sort of a traveling exhibit for his art called “The Renaissance of Faith in Art,” which included about two hundred prints by Renaissance artists including Rembrandt van Rijn, Albrecht Durer, Lucas van Leyden and Peter Paul Rubens.  The exhibit was primarily displayed in LDS wards and stake centers in Denver.  Even the Mormon Times wrote a glowing article about this guy and how his art collection promotes the Church.  He has now been excommunicated.

The SEC’s Complaint against Mr. Merriman can be read here.

Copyright © 2010 by Mark W. Pugsley. All Rights Reserved.