Greenbelt, Maryland – Eddie Ray Johnson, Jr., 60, of Brandywine, Md., pleaded guilty on May 14, 2021 to the federal charge of theft of government property, in a scheme to use his government-issued travel credit card to obtain more than $ 1.1 million in cash advances.
The guilty plea was announced by the Acting United States Attorney General for the District of Maryland, Jonathan F. Lenzner; Brigadier General Terry Bullard of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI); Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Defense Criminal Investigations Service (DCIS), Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Acting Special Agent Darrell J. Waldon of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Washington, DC Field Office.
“Eddie Johnson betrayed his position of trust for his own personal gain,” Interim US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner said. “Corrupt officials rip off taxpayers and undermine everyone’s trust in government.”
According to his plea deal, from January 2003 to February 2018, Johnson was a civilian employee of the Air Force, most recently as travel coordinator at the Secretary of the Air Force, Legislative Liaison Office , where he planned congressional trips and reviewed and approved the accounts. packages submitted by travel escorts, among other tasks. Johnson admitted that from March 2014 to September 2017, he used his government-issued travel credit card to obtain more than $ 1.1 million in cash advances, of which at least $ 774,000 he embezzled for his own use. staff.
As detailed in the plea deal, Johnson frequently deposited the stolen funds into an interest-free account opened in his name at a Pentagon bank branch. Employees of the Legislative Liaison Office have been instructed to open such accounts so that they can more easily deposit and withdraw public funds for official purposes without accruing interest. After depositing the stolen funds, Johnson wrote checks to himself, which he deposited in his personal bank accounts, and spent the money for his personal benefit, including living expenses, a grand piano for baby, loan payments for a Harley Davidson motorcycle and the family. holidays. Johnson also admitted that he provided money to his family members, including his wife.
During the execution of a search warrant at Johnson’s residence in Brandywine, Maryland on November 6, 2019, law enforcement recovered approximately $ 151,740 in cash from Johnson’s residence. Johnson agrees that at least $ 4,000 of the funds seized were the proceeds of his offense.
In total, Johnson’s conduct caused a loss to the U.S. government of $ 1,157,540.69, which includes $ 26,506.02 in bank and service charges that the Air Force paid monthly in the in connection with the cash advances obtained by Johnson. As part of his plea deal, Johnson agreed to the seizure of an order restoring the full amount of the victim’s losses.
Johnson faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for theft of government property. The actual sentences for federal crimes are generally less than the maximum sentences. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm scheduled the sentencing for September 3, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Acting US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended OSI, DCIS, and IRS-CI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked US deputy lawyers Dana J. Brusca and Elizabeth Wright, who are pursuing the case.