The FTC has asked the Nevada federal judge presiding over its lawsuit against Johnson, I Works and related companies and other employees to amend it to include Johnson's wife, Sharla, and parents, Barbara and Kerry Johnson, and five family-related companies.
The proposed new complaint says those named received $22 million, including $1 million worth of silver coins or bars that went to Kerry Johnson. The FTC contends those transfers, from the $275 million taken in by I Works, were improper because the company engaged in illegal marketing practices.
FTC spokesman Frank Dorman said in an email that the new complaint is aimed at recovering monies that went to Johnson's wife and parents "to which the relief defendants have no rightful claim. The FTC seeks to disgorge these funds from them in order to increase the amount available for consumer refunds, should the FTC win its case."
Johnson also is facing a criminal charge in federal court in Salt Lake City over operation of I Works and is embroiled in a dispute over allegations involving an alleged scheme in which Johnson says Utah Attorney General John Swallow helped to put together a deal to pay Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to scuttle the FTC investigation.
Swallow, Reid and others have denied knowing about or engaging in any alleged bribe. Swallow has said the plan was aimed at hiring lobbyists to help Johnson deal with the agency.
The allegations of the transfer of funds in the FTC case already are contained in numerous court documents, but if the agency receives approval to file the new complaint, it will have ramped up the stakes in the battle with Johnson by adding his wife and parents to the suit that originally was filed in Las Vegas in December 2010.