Manti man with long history of fraud
is headed back to prison
By Robert Stevens
A convicted fraudster is headed to prison for a third time after leaving a series of victims in his wake.
Kevin Rafferty, 31, Manti, was sentenced on Friday, Jan. 10 to a sentence in the Utah State Prison for an indeterminate time not to exceed five years on charges of credit card fraud.
Rafferty has a long criminal record dominated by fraud. According to Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels, Rafferty has preyed upon kind and charitable people all over the country, and since 2015 he has been ripping off good people in Sanpete County.
“He builds a relationship to the point that people trust him,” Daniels says. “He has a history of fraud, theft and crimes of that nature. He’s already been to prison twice over this same kind of stuff.”
Rafferty’s story closely parallels the parable of the Emperor’s New Clothes. In the parable, crooks take advantage of the kindness of well-meaning families, even fooling a king. Daniels says Rafferty targets and grooms his victims by gaining their trust and then stealing from them once in a position to do so—usually by unauthorized credit card transactions.
Like the crooks in the Emperor’s New Clothes, When Rafferty gets caught in his fraud, he moves on to a new area. Rafferty has a trail of charges all over the country, nearly all of them for the same kind of fraud.
After leaving behind a lengthy criminal record in Florida and Georgia, Rafferty came here. Upon arriving, it wasn’t very long until he started committing fraud in Sanpete County, where he has been arrested for fraud in 2015, 2018 and 2019.
Not including the outstanding warrant he has in Florida, he currently has one case ongoing in 6th District Court and another he just pleaded guilty to. In this case, Rafferty stole $1400 from MidUtahRadio owner, Doug Barton of Manti.
As part of his sentencing, Rafferty had several of his outstanding charges dismissed with prejudice, and another sentenced to run concurrent with the prison sentence handed down on Jan. 10 for his fraud against Barton.
Daniels says Rafferty spent $1,400 on Barton’s credit card without authorization, and would not pay it back.
“Doug gave him multiple opportunities to make it right, but he never did,” Daniels said.
In fact, before being sentenced to prison on Jan. 10, 6th District Judge Paul Lyman gave Rafferty another chance to pay Barton back, and in doing so stay out of prison. According to Daniels, Rafferty told the court he had the $1400 in a bank account, and he would pay it back right away if they didn’t send him to prison.
The pre-sentence investigation report recommended prison as the sentence; Daniels also wanted prison, considering Rafferty’s long history of stealing from people whose trust he had gained. Rafferty requested 365 days in the Sanpete County Jail on the condition that he pays Barton back by Monday, Dec. 16, 2019.
In what was a very out-of-the-ordinary sentencing, the judge gave Rafferty a significantly lighter sentence than he requested: 270 days. In the end, Rafferty defrauded the actual court, says Daniels, because he never actually had the money to pay Barton back and keep his end of the deal.
Not long after, Daniels discovered Rafferty had opened a GoFundMe account saying he was raising money to treat health problems, but the amount he was raising was the same amount he owed Barton. Daniels says he is also aware of other attempts Rafferty made to drum up the money to pay Barton that would have qualified as fraud as well if the efforts hadn’t been squashed.
Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 came around and Rafferty never paid the required restitution. Daniels says he sees it as an opportunity to give Rafferty the outcome he was supposed to get in the first place—a prison sentence.
“I wasn’t happy about 270 days,” Daniels says. “I can’t pretend to know what Judge Lyman’s mindset was, but he is an excellent judge. The reality is he gave him an opportunity and Rafferty just committed another act of fraud.”
Daniels says something about Rafferty’s methods of targeting generous people who are often pillars of the community, getting close and then ripping them off is one of the most repulsive behaviors he has seen from a repeat offender. The long history of felony convictions and various forms of fraud means Rafferty belongs in prison, says Daniels.
“Prison is meant to rehabilitate, but it is also can be used to take someone out of society, to protect it and reduce the damage that can be done,” Daniels says. “This is one of those situations. He is a fraudster like I have never seen. I have seen people take more money, but I have never seen someone as predatory as Kevin Rafferty.