Utah vs. Berthmann: The Charging Documents

Editor’s Note: For full transparency, the following documents are public records and were released and obtained through FOIA filings. We obtained the documents without redaction and have made the decision to do our best to redact the names of victims & witnesses in an effort to respect their privacy, maintain standards and set an example. As with all documents, we will have the documents, in their original state available for view on our Patreon.

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Coco Berthmann was formally charged with communications fraud, a second-degree felony in Utah’s 3rd District Court. Prosecutors allege that Berthmann faked a cancer diagnosis late last year through the beginning of this year. Her roommate established a GoFundMe account to help Berthmann mitigate treatment costs. Instead Berthmann took the money and placed it in her own bank account.

First, I’d like to apologize for any delays as we are about a week-and-a-half overdue with bringing you the Coco Berthmann charging documents. It’s been one hell of a week at American Crime Journal. Over the last two months, witnesses, documents and information has been pouring in. As you know two other cases that are part of our investigative series has had major developments.

Recent Developments

As you know, Coco Berthmann was arrested. More on that below.

In early April, the I-65 Killer was identified, as Harry Greenwell. We’ve been looking through old newspaper archives, sending out Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, reaching out to those who may have known him, etc. Greenwell had an extensive criminal history that spanned six decades, so this will take some time. More importantly, even though it’s possible, we don’t believe Greenwell began raping and killing women at forty-two years old. It’s unclear what Greenwell’s primary motives were. On one hand, Greenwell was a lifelong thief, who recently got of prison. Also, I believe more so now than ever before, that Greenwell murdered Lois “Evelyn” Wright and James Walton. That is for another article or maybe livestream/show.

Obviously, the ongoing developments and controversy surrounding Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard. In a recent move, Ballard hired former Assistant U.S. Attorney and adjunct-professor at the University of San Diego, Alessandra Serano. Evidence suggests that Ballard hired Serano to act as the legal sword and shield both for Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) and Ballard personally.

Ballard’s motivations are clear. He hired Serano to exploit her connections, history, both professional and personal relationships within the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, etc. in an effort to repel criminal investigations and to help silence and retaliate against the bevy of former OUR personnel that has come forward accusing Ballard of gross misconduct, mismanagement, incompetence, dangerous associations with fringe right-wing groups, misogyny and worse, criminal activity.

ACJ recently learned, that Serano and Ballard have a relationship dating back to at least 2006.

To both current and former colleagues from the University of San Diego School of Law and those during her days as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA), it’s “troubling and disturbing” that she’d “involve herself and risk her reputation” with an organization that is under multiple criminal investigations with established ties to radical right-wing figures, admitted felons, white nationalists and right-wing militia groups.

Tim Ballard has peddled chaos and fear rather than facts, essentially sewing division, hate and racism.

Now we have what was a highly respected former Assistant United State Attorney, with a rather unblemished record that is not only perpetuating these myths and beliefs, but worse- Alessandra Serano is legitimizing OUR and lending credibility to the organizations they are associated with.

Beginning in December last year, Serano began making the rounds trying to restore credibility to OUR. Then in the blink-of-an-eye, Alessandra Serano destroyed any and all credibility she ever had, when she attempted to smear the first black woman nominated and subsequently appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Colleagues of Serano at the University of San Diego were absolutely “disgusted” by Serano’s portrayal of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson who previously served as Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission.

Again, more on that later.

For additional articles covering OUR, please go to ACJ Investigates- Derailed: Operation Underground Railroad

We’ve also been working hard at getting the ACJ site updated, the launch of our new show- which we will have more details on shortly.

A Quick Preface

Last week we first reported that professional human trafficking victim Coco Berthmann was formally charged with communications fraud, a second-degree felony in Utah’s 3rd District Court.

We obtained the following charging documents:

  • Affidavit of Probable Cause
  • Declaration of Probable Cause
  • Communications Fraud, 76-10-1801(1)(d) UCA, Second Degree Felony
  • Public Safety Risk Assessment
  • Summons

Coco Berthmann appeared on Lynn Packer and ACJ’s radar when another sexual assault allegation against a former Operation Underground Railroad and was a longtime partner of Tim Ballard. It appears she used Lynn Packer’s article published August 2020, Operation Underground Railroad’s Roots, and a subsequent report released September 29, 2020,report , Operation Underground Railroad and Religious Extremism.

By this time, Berthmann’s prominence as a “sex trafficking survivor” and also “counter-human trafficking expert” reached the national level. Packer and I had already discussed at length human trafficking myths and misconceptions, as well as those exploiting it in the “survivor industry” and the “rescue industry”.

Despite Berthmann’s human trafficking survivor story being easily debunked, it was quite possibly the hardest story for Packer to publish. Personally, I sat for five hours debating its release on the website. We knew backlash would be inevitable, people are vested in the story. For some, their entire worldview is inundated in human trafficking, conspiracies and satanic cults.

Law enforcement had been tipped off by a family member of a family Coco Berthmann previously stayed with and used. The affidavit confirms they had saw Berthmann’s videos and Instagram posts claiming to have stage three mantle cell lymphoma.

Affidavit of Probable Cause

The allegations and evidence against Berthmann is damning. Berthmann has a litany of responses and fringe, lunatic supporters that’s either so vested in Berthmann they can’t let go or the fringe religious right obsessed with pedophilia and satanic human trafficking cults.

The last week, a credible source that provided ACJ evidence before stated, “she [Berthmann] is telling people that this whole thing is because of one man who assaulted her and is a millionaire”.

According to sources, Berthmann is already going on a campaign that this is a major criminal conspiracy to “destroy her”. It appears that Coco Berthmann is back to accusing a former Operation Underground Railroad rainmaker and millionaire of sexually assaulting her and she again claims to be working with the Davis County District Attorney and Federal Bureau of Investigation. She alleges both he and Ballard have the connections and pull to frame her for such crimes.

As you see in this affidavit, Detective Barraza contacted the Davis County District Attorney and confirmed, just as we reported last year, Coco Berthmann “is not working as a witness with the FBI and the Davis County D.A.”

The case number Berthmann references, is the bogus sexual assault claim she alleged against the OUR operative in question and Tim Ballard.

Then Ballard has the audacity to perpetuate that we take “any minor discrepancy and spin something out of nothing”, both Packer and I cleared Ballard and the former OUR operative in question, then launched an investigation into Coco Berthmann.

Declaration of Probable Cause

Editor’s Note: For full transparency, the following documents are public records and were released and obtained through FOIA filings. We obtained the documents without redaction and have made the decision to do our best to redact the names of victims & witnesses in an effort to respect their privacy, maintain standards and set an example. As with all documents, we will have the documents, in their original state available for view on our Patreon.

The Declaration of Probable Cause lays out the prosecution’s case against Coco Berthmann.

Coco Berthmann was arrested for suspected Communications Fraud and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Wednesday February 16. The case was laid out then. Many believed that Berthmann was going to get away with it. In a Tiktok video I opened with an old saying, “the Wheels of Justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine.”

Quite a few people have questioned us over the past few months on what Coco Berthmann would be charged and why hasn’t the prosecution sought additional criminal charges outside of communications fraud. There was little doubt that Berthmann was arrested and booked just to be cleared of wrongdoing.

They hauled her in to see what she says, be it confession or give them other leads.

Not much has changed since her initial arrest for suspected communications fraud, except the the evidence against Berthmann is damning. While it was understood that Berthmann fabricated her cancer diagnosis and a Go Fund Me was created and received funds, it wasn’t clear if she at any point took funds or were given funds from the account. The Probable Cause declaration states that the GoFundMe was in Coco Berthmann’s name and directly linked to her email and bank account.

According to the Probable Cause Declaration, Berthmann on the following dates withdrew funds from the GoFundMe

  1. February 4, 2022- $3800.99
  2. February 5, 2022- $365.97
  3. February 6, 2022- $385.09
  4. February 11, 2022- $2064.99
  5. February 12, 2022- $9.41
  6. February 14, 2022- $57.66
  7. February 15th, 2022- $193.60

Coco Berthmann was arrested February 16, 2022, the day after the last transaction. Sadly, there are still a few desperate men and women trying to excuse and justify Berthmann’s lies and crimes. It’s insulting as they blame this on “psychological trauma” from “some form of abuse”.

Make no mistake, this is a slap in the face to survivors of abuse. Just to justify their ignorance and gullibility.

Communications Fraud, 76-10-1801(1)(d) UCA, Second Degree Felony

There are some who are upset that Berthmann wasn’t charged each time someone was defrauded. The43

Coco Berthmann is Charge with Communications Fraud

Public Safety Risk Assessment

Both Packer and I, disagree with this assessment, as does a former prosecutor turned defense attorney who has given his professional opinion on cases before.

First, Berthmann has either been operating fundraisers, benefits and/or scam for years. After Packer’s video was released, Berthmann didn’t answer for the allegations, address them or refute them- she went into hiding and closed off he so,

Most importantly, she is not an American, but a German citizen. Berthmann speaks multiple languages and with the network of sympathizers and victims of her scam that are invested in her bogus human tracking survivor story, she is in a position to further exploit and defraud them for a “defense fund” and “living expenses”.

Summons

Coco Berthmann is summoned to appear, in person at the Matheson Courthouse before a magistrate on June 8, 2022.

Coco Berthmann’s Summons

Conditions of Release

Coco Berthmann was released without bail. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons. Personally, I’ve long been against the bail/bond system used in the United States for a plethora of reasons, except in cases of fraud or crimes with actual monetary damages. The money posted for bail can be used towards that upon conviction.

People often mix “punishment” with bail. Technically, the bail system was in place to ensure that you appear in court. If not, those funds were used to cover the cost to apprehend you… once upon a time.

What it boils down to, is that the bail system holds the poor and lower middle class at gunpoint. Prosecutors coerce the poor and middle class with “plea bargains”. It destroys lives and tears families apart. I witnessed it firsthand.

This system was necessary… back in 1885. Today it destroys lives. Some are factually innocent, but for most the punishment is far disproportionate to the crime committed.

If you cannot afford to post bail for petty offenses, you’re the mercy of the court to finally release you on your own recognizance at some point, you go to trial which can takes two to five years, or you plead guilty as quickly as possible.

If the court feels that evidence clearly indicates guilt and the accused is believed to be a threat to the public, their spouse, children or themselves, then they should detain them through the duration of the court proceedings. If they feel one is seriously a flight risk, then they should not be let out of jail until the case is resolved.

Last, but not least, if one if going to continue to engage in criminal activity, they should not be released.

In cases of fraud, criminal damage to property or other crimes which there was monetary loss by the victim, then the bail should be the value of the loss, or half of it. Then if one is guilty at least some of the damages have been recovered.

It’s not like TV where people go to trial and are proven guilty. Besides, trials have their own problems.

In reality, 97 percent of federal criminal convictions are obtained through plea bargains, and states are right behind them at 94 percent. It’s estimated that around 20% of people who take plea deals are innocent of the crime, or innocent altogether.

Sorry, rant over. TL/DR; it’s another discussion.

As I said previously, I believe Berthmann is a flight risk and is likely to commit additional crimes for money she so desperately needs. The evidence is clear and compelling, Berthmann is guilty. Everything else is just formality.

The condition of release does require Berthmann to check in once a week. What is troubling? They did not require her surrender her passport, which should be a bare minimum requirement.

Berthmann’s Conditions of Release:

Coco Berthmann’s Conditions of Release

Resources and Further Reading

Trump’s DOJ: Year One of Criminal Sentencing Statistics (natlawreview.com)

Innocence Is Irrelevant in the Age of the Plea Bargain – The Atlantic

Exposed: The Coco Berthmann Child Sex Slave Hoax – American Crime Journal |


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