Air Force employee pleads guilty to theft of $ 1.1 million in government travel advances – United States
Air Force employee pleads guilty to theft of $ 1.1 million in government travel advances
Former Air Force employee who coordinated travel for members of Congress pleaded guilty in federal court to theft of Pentagon funds through cash advances on his government-issued travel card in a $ 1.1 million embezzlement scheme.
Eddie Ray Johnson Jr., 60, of Brandywine, Md., Has used his Citibank travel card for more than three years to deposit cash advances to a Bank of America account at the Pentagon, court documents show. The program cost the Air Force $ 26,500 in bank charges and service fees, they said.
In a May 14 plea deal, Johnson admitted to embezzling at least $ 774,000 of stolen funds for personal purposes, such as buying a grand piano, paying off a loan for a Harley. Davidson and a family vacation.
“Eddie Johnson betrayed his position of trust for his personal gain,” Acting US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner said in a statement last week. “Corrupt officials rip off taxpayers and undermine everyone’s trust in government.”
Johnson was a civilian employee of the Air Force for 15 years until his resignation in 2018. The theft occurred while he was working as a travel coordinator in the Secretary of the Air Force’s Legislative Liaison Office. Air Force, where he planned trips to Congress and approved accounting records submitted by Air Force escorts staff.
Office workers were allowed to use travel cards to obtain cash advances for official purposes, which they deposited and withdrawn from unpaid accounts in their own name at the Bank of America branch of the Pentagon.
Johnson was given a government credit card with a limit of $ 50,000, according to court documents. From March 2014 to September 2017, he put $ 1.13 million in cash advances into the Bank of America account.
Johnson then wrote checks to himself and his family members to “claim refunds that had not actually been incurred,” said a court document filed with Johnson’s plea deal. For example, he would sometimes ask his wife to pay household expenses into his bank account, which he would then reimburse in cash.
A search of his home in Brandywine in 2019 recovered more than $ 15,000 in cash, which Johnson said at least $ 4,000 came from his theft plan. In total, his actions cost the government nearly $ 1.16 million.
As part of the plea deal, he accepted a restitution order for the full amount and that he would try to sell the piano ahead of sentencing, which is scheduled for September 3.
Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison for the crime.