Jonathan Peirsol, a Blackfoot businessman, was arrested on a bench warrant for grand theft in the Bannock County Courthouse parking lot Friday Morning. Photo courtesy of R. Wayne Klein.

POCATELLO — Blackfoot businessman Jonathon Peirsol, 45, was arrested at 11:28 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of the Bannock County Courthouse and booked into the Bannock County Jail.

He was arrested on a bench warrant issued by Seventh District Magistrate Judge James Barrett on July 18. Barrett issued the warrant after Peirsol failed to appear for arraignment in Bingham County on a charge of felony grand theft.

Court records show that a criminal complaint was lodged and an affidavit of probable cause filed on June 7. The date on the grand theft charge is Feb. 25. According to Bingham County court records, Peirsol’s bail has been set at $20,000.

According to an employee of J&J Chemical, a Blackfoot business which Peirsol originally owned and operated, he is accused of stealing cleaning and water conditioning equipment belonging to J&J. The equipment was allegedly stored on the premises of another Blackfoot business. Peirsol allegedly took the equipment and claimed to be from J&J at the time, and it was later located in Pocatello.

As is customary in cases of fraud, financial impropriety or business incompetence, the Idaho District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court appointed a trustee, R. Wayne Klein, in 2017 to operate J&J during a bankruptcy process. Peirsol is barred from any direct dealings with his former place of business until the process is complete.

Klein observed Peirsol’s arrest from an upper-story window of the Bannock County Courthouse on Friday and took a picture of him being escorted from the premises by three law enforcement officers.

An unnamed source said that law enforcement first searched the courthouse for Peirsol before finding him in his new business’ van parked in the courthouse parking lot.

This is not Peirsol’s first brush with the law. He was arrested for tax-related crimes for which he was sentenced in May 2017.

According to documents filed with Idaho District Court, from 2009 through 2012, Peirsol prepared false individual income tax returns under the name of JJ Accounting Inc. He falsified returns without his clients’ knowledge or consent, adding items like medical and education expenses.

For some of the returns, Peirsol also diverted — again without his clients’ knowledge — portions of their IRS refunds , depositing them into a bank account which he controlled. He also failed to report any of the fees he earned from his tax preparation business on his personal tax returns.

Peirsol was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for filing false tax returns, a charge he pleaded guilty to in March 2017. In addition to his prison term, Peirsol was ordered to serve one year of supervised release and to pay $62,441 in restitution to the IRS.

It was during the 2016-17 period of Peirsol’s arrest, trial and sentencing that J&J Chemical was forced into insolvency due to Peirsol’s use of the company’s financial resources to cover his own debts and expenses, records show. The orignal Chapter 11 fining was in January 2017.

After Peirsol’s release, he started a new cleaning chemicals company called JPB Enterprises. This business competed directly with J&J Chemical and operates out of J&J’s former office on Ash St. After Peirsol was released in 2018, he evicted J&J from their former Ash Street location which JBP Enterprises now occupies.

J&J Chemical still does business in Blackfoot under Klein’s supervision, at their new location at 358 W. Bridge Street.