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Signs like this are posted around Sanpete County offering fencing services, but the man running them, Berklee Holm is facing a lot of legal heat for taking his customers’ money and running.

 

Man facing many legal actions 

tries scam in Sanpete

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

6-18-2020

 

STERLING—A man who purports to operate a fencing business is using the same scheme in Sanpete County he has used  to defraud residents in multiple states.

Sanpete local Carl Sullivan was almost a victim. He needed fencing installed at his home near Palisade State Park, so he called a phone number he saw on a hand painted sign posted in the Gunnison Valley.

Unbeknownst to Sullivan, the number belonged to Berklee Holm, 67 of Parowan. Holm is facing a bevy of legal actions against him, including multiple serious fraud felonies for his practice of taking a large deposit for the installation of a fence, then absconding with the money.

Holm has repeatedly operated under that M.O. in Utah, Nevada and Arizona, bilking unsuspecting people who needed fencing, but never delivering after taking thousands of dollars for the purchase of materials.

Holm came to the Sullivan home on May 27, where he gave Sullivan an estimate, and requested a $3000 payment to use towards materials. After getting the money and agreeing to start work the very next week, Holm left.

But he never came back. Sullivan was able to reach Holm, who said he would be starting the next week instead. The next week came and Hold didn’t show. Holm would go on to pull the no-show act four more times before Sullivan realized it was a fraudulent situation.

“I am a little embarrassed I went for it,” Sullivan said. “I am just so used to operating with only a handshake with people in Sanpete, and it’s always worked out great before.”

Sullivan and his wife got serious, and took turns calling and messaging Holm, saying he had an obligation to fulfill for them and they would pursue legal recourse if he didn’t.

“He started to feel the pressure, that’s for sure,” Sullivan said. When Sullivan asked Holm for his money back, Holm told him he couldn’t because he had already spent nearly all of it on the materials.

A final ultimatum was given to Holm to show up on Friday, June 12, and he agreed, but didn’t actually show up to Sullivan’s property until June 13. When he arrived, he came with only $475 worth of materials, and a work crew of all young boys.

But Sullivan told Holm he was no longer interested in any services, and told him they would drive together to the bank for Holm to withdraw $2,525 to refund him, and he could leave the materials. Holm complied and then left with the group of young boys.

Sullivan later was informed by local contractors of Holm’s history of ripping people off, and placed a report with the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office.

Sullivan got off lucky in the end, because many of Holm’s victims have received nothing back.

In Washington County, Holm has a number of recent felony arrests for the same fraudulent practices. In one of them, a client accidentally put an extra zero on her “materials deposit” and Holm hurriedly rushed the $21,000 check to the bank to cash it. He was ultimately arrested on the theft, admitting to authorities he took the money thinking it was a blessing from God, and later bailed out on a $10,000 bond.

Holm had an active business license registered with the Utah Business License Registry under the name Valley Fence and Design, LLC, in Cedar City, but the address given for the business is permanently closed. He also has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of F, with multiple complaints against him on the BBB website.

Holm has ties to Hilldale, Washington County and the FLDS group run by Warren Jeffs. The work crew Holm brings with him to meet the people he defrauds have all been younger boys dressed in traditional FLDS clothes.

Authorities in Utah, Arizona and Nevada are currently building cases against Holm.

 

                     Berklee Holm