This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Before police fatally shot Daniel Pogue as he wielded a shotgun outside the Oquirrh Mountain LDS Temple on Christmas Day, Pogue was the subject of an FBI investigation of a real estate scheme.
For months, Pogue had acted as a tenant in an alleged scheme he had set up with Ernest Moffitt of West Jordan and Moffitt's son, David. The scheme was designed to scam investors who had been promised prime real estate investments, said Danny Quintana, a Salt Lake City attorney representing one of Pogue's alleged victims in a debt collection suit filed in 3rd District Court.
The debt collection case, in which Pogue and the Moffitts are co-defendants along with 20 others, was scheduled for trial in West Jordan before Judge Mark Kouris in March. But the FBI had also contacted Quintana about Pogue and the Moffitts, causing Quintana to wonder if Pogue had reached the end of his rope the day he went to the temple with weapons.
"These guys were going around with a real estate Ponzi [scheme] here in Salt Lake," Quintana said. "All of their investors lost their money. Everyone that got touched, got burned."
Ernest Moffitt, Pogue's best friend, disputes allegations against him and said he and Pogue never engaged in fraud. The pending lawsuit and FBI investigation were not a factor the day Pogue went to the temple, Moffitt said.
Moffitt believes his friend suffered brain damage from an extremely high fever in the days leading up to his death and went to the temple armed to shoot birds he thought were after him.
Pogue had complained of illness earlier in the week and had missed work meetings. On Christmas Eve morning, Pogue arrived unannounced at Moffitt's home around 6 a.m.
"He said, 'I talked to you half an hour ago and you invited me over to have some bacon,' " Moffitt said. "I said, 'I didn't talk to you, but come on in.' "
Pogue was not making sense, Moffitt said. He spoke of "little people on his arms."
Pogue then told Moffitt he was running a fever of 106 degrees.
"He kept saying that," Moffitt said. "He's been sick before and he basically likes to just go crash and sleep it off and get better. He's always been able to do that. So I told him he needed to go back home and go to bed."
The next day, Pogue, armed with a gun, was shot and killed by police outside the Oquirrh Mountain LDS Temple. South Jordan police Lt. Dan Starks said he can't discuss details of the case until the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office completes an investigation of whether force was justified in the shooting.
Quintana said he wasn't surprised to learn of the death, knowing of mounting pressure against Pogue from the pending court case and FBI investigation for securities fraud. He said those involved in the complaint he filed in 3rd District Court were also "ripping each other off."
"There was so much real estate fraud going on," Quintana said of Pogue. "He got caught up in so many lies."
Quintana said Pogue and the Moffitts were advertising property on the Internet and selling them at inflated prices to investors, with promises of 14 percent returns on their investments. The trio promised investors that they had tenants lined up to rent out the property to secure interest in the investments, Quintana said.
Pogue would then serve as the tenant, but would fail to make rent payments to the investor until he was evicted, Quintana said. The group made money, but also lost it when deals fell through, Quintana said. They also held real estate seminars to bring in investors who believed they were buying foreclosed property, but would fall prey to a scam, according to court documents filed by Quintana.
He said the group used membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as leverage to convince potential investors they were upstanding citizens.
"They knew it wasn't an investment because Dan would be evicted for not making the payments," Quintana said. "Ernest Moffitt hides behind his temple garments and hides behind his show."
The group told potential investors about mission work they had done as a way to lure them in, according to court documents filed by Quintana.
Quintana represents Ronald Bray of West Jordan, who was Pogue's landlord until the man stopped paying the bills. Bray had bought rental property through the Moffitts and Matthew D. Cartwright, who operated businesses under the names of Fortified Finance, Wasatch Ventures Investment, Wasatch Rent to Own, and Secured Capital, according to court documents.
The Bray family lost approximately $32,000 as a result of the bad investment, court documents state, and is seeking more than $2 million in its claim against the Moffitts, Pogue and the other co-defendants in the suit.
An FBI spokesman for the agency's Salt Lake City office said he couldn't confirm or deny details about open investigations. Attempts to contact Pogue's family for comment have been unsuccessful.
Moffitt said he and Pogue are the victims of untrue attacks launched by the Brays. He said Pogue was supposed to be allowed to stay rent-free at the Brays' rental property in exchange for about $70,000 of construction work he did on the house. He said one of Pogue's business partners is the one who duped the Brays, and said he and Pogue got caught in the crossfire.
"They seem to think each and every one of us are part of a master plot," Moffitt said.
He said Pogue had been working as a contractor on a project in Pleasant Grove before he was killed. Moffitt said he wonders what could have triggered his friend's behavior, but believes illness caused him to behave erratically.
"To go out and do what he did was a 180 from the person he was three days earlier," Moffitt said. "I had no idea at that time a 106-degree temperature is so dangerous. I believe his temperature fried his brain. If I'd have had any idea how serious it was, I would have called 911 right there on the spot and had him in the hospital."
Moffitt said he met Pogue two years ago, when both men were struggling to recover from personal and professional losses. Pogue loaned Moffitt $200 after their first meeting.
"I told him he made a big mistake. He made a friend for life," Moffitt said.
Moffit and Pogue leaned on each other for support.
"We were both getting our lives back together," Moffitt said.
Pogue had started attending LDS Church services again. He was in charge of tending facilities, including shoveling sidewalks on snowy Sundays.
"In all the two years I've known him, he's never had a mental issue at all," Moffitt said. "He's private, quiet, keeps to himself. But he's not some wacko job out there planning the destruction of the human race," Moffitt said.
"The Dan that got shot wasn't the Dan I know."
South Jordan police say they shot Daniel M. Pogue, 54, after spotting the man carrying a shotgun and pointing it at people near the Oquirrh Mountain LDS Temple on Christmas Day. Pogue also carried a machete and chopped at the fence surrounding the building. Officers were concerned for the safety of bystanders. Pogue died at the scene.