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Texan bet part of defrauded $1 million from investors, feds say

Posted: May 29, 2022, 8:05 a.m.

Last update: May 29, 2022, 8:05 a.m.

A 42-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday for allegedly defrauding more than a dozen investors in a complex scam. The six-year program has raised over $1 million. Some of the money was spent gambling in casinos, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon
United States District Court Judge Richard J. Leon (right) pictured above. Earlier, he presented an award to Loomis Chaffee student Wyatt French. Last week he convicted a man of an alleged fraud. (Photo: Loomis Chaffee/Molly Pond)

Sean T. Johnson, also known as Shawn Johnson, who last resided in Dallas, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, DC.

After the prison sentence, Johnson will be placed on probation for four years.

Investors lost savings

Johnson must also compensate the victims of the scheme. Most of the victims lost their life savings, ruined their credit scores and faced foreclosure or bankruptcy because of the fraud, prosecutors said.

The plot took place between September 2012 and October 2018. Johnson was arrested in October 2018. He has been in custody since his arrest.

In 2019, Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Based on a federal investigation, prosecutors allege Johnson misled victims into investing in nonexistent entities. Johnson also lied about his celebrity relationships, net worth and other things to encourage investment, according to a statement from Washington, DC U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves.

In addition to spending profits at casinos, Johnson used the money to buy luxury automobiles, designer clothes, drinks at nightclubs and tickets to sporting events, Graves said.

Selling points tailored to the investor

Johnson also allegedly posed as a wealthy investor and successful businessman, the statement added. Johnson varied his approach depending on the victim’s personality, gender and lifestyle, Graves said. But there were some similarities in its sales pitch.

The scam almost always started with the accused showing money near the victim, throwing out names of famous friends who were investors in his companies, talking about his business acumen and offering to help his friends get rich, like him,” Graves said in the statement. .

To convince investors, Johnson wore expensive designer clothes, bragged about his wealth and claimed he owned expensive homes, prosecutors said.

He even offered “promissory notes” that detailed the investments. He reportedly promised to repay the amount shown in the promissory notes.

The FBI’s field office in Washington, D.C. and statements from victims of the scam were key to convicting Johnson, Graves said.