Former Air Force Employee Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing More Than $1.1 Million in Government Funds

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Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm today sentenced Eddie Ray Johnson, Jr., age 60, of Brandywine, Maryland, to 16 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, with the first 12 months to be served in home confinement, for theft of government property, in connection with a scheme to use his government-issued travel credit card to obtain more than $1.1 million in cash advances.  In addition, Judge Grimm ordered Johnson to perform 500 hours of community service, pay a $15,000 fine, forfeit $4,000 seized during a search on November 6, 2019, and pay restitution of $1,157,540.69.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Brigadier General Terry Bullard of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI); Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Darrell J. Waldon of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Washington, D.C. Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, from January 2003 to February 2018, Johnson was a civilian Air Force employee, most recently as a travel coordinator in the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Legislative Liaison, where he planned congressional travel and reviewed and approved accounting packages submitted by trip escorts, among other duties.  Johnson admitted that from March 2014 through September 2017, he used his government-issued travel credit card to obtain more than $1.1 million in cash advances, at least $774,000 of which he diverted to his own personal use.

As detailed in the plea agreement, Johnson frequently deposited the stolen funds into a non-interest- bearing account opened in his name at a bank branch in the Pentagon.  Employees in the Office of Legislative Liaison were instructed to open such accounts so that they could more easily deposit and withdraw government funds for official use without accruing interest.  After depositing the stolen funds, Johnson wrote checks to himself, which he deposited into his personal bank accounts, and spent the money for his personal benefit, including on living expenses, a baby grand piano, loan payments for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and family vacations.  Johnson also admitted that he provided cash to his family members, including his spouse.

During execution of a search warrant at Johnson’s residence on November 6, 2019, law enforcement recovered approximately $15,174 in cash.  Johnson agrees that at least $4,000 of the funds seized were the proceeds of his offense.

In all, Johnson’s conduct caused a loss to the U.S. government of $1,157,540.69, which includes $26,506.02 in banking and service fees that the Air Force paid monthly in connection with the cash advances Johnson obtained. 

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the OSI, the DCIS, and the IRS-CI for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dana J. Brusca and Elizabeth Wright, who prosecuted the case.

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