A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former Williamsburg County Sheriff Michael Johnson to two-and-a-half years in prison after his conviction on fraud-related charges last year.
Meanwhile, a Columbia businessman accused of leading the scheme was sentenced to 33 months. Both men were given punishments on the lower end of the sentencing spectrum. Judge Terry Wooten said, while Johnson had no previous criminal record, the conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud was a “serious offense” and warranted the 30-month sentence.
Prosecutors accused Johnson of filing at least 245 false police reports over an 18-month period to help customers of credit repair firm FIG Investments, LLC. The incident reports made it appear that FIG Investment customers had been the victims of identity theft, leading the credit rating bureau Equifax to improve those “victims'” credit scores.
FIG Investments owner Lester Woods was given a longer sentence partly due to a 20-year-old drug conviction and because Judge Wooten ruled he may have misled the jury during his September trial. Both men will also have to repay $15,875 each and will get three years supervision after their release from prison.