A former Pee Dee sheriff who is already serving federal prison time for fraud now faces state charges on separate accusations.
The state Attorney General’s Office said Thursday that former Williamsburg County Sheriff Michael Johnson had been indicted on one count of misconduct in office. A former deputy under Johnson’s command, Jason Derek Lyerly, was also indicted on a misconduct charge Thursday.
Johnson was sentenced in March to 30 months in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of creating fake police reports to help a friend’s credit-repair business. He is serving that sentence at a minimum-security facility in West Virginia.
Prosecutors accused Johnson last year 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.
The indictment released Thursday deals with a separate issue. It claims Johnson used sheriff’s department money to buy and repair a “Gator” utility vehicle and an “Arctic Cat” all-terrain vehicle for his personal use. The indictments further state the then-sheriff also gave the vehicle to Lyerly to use.
Both men face up to 10 years in state prison if convicted.
Johnson was first elected as a Democrat in rural Williamsburg County in 2010, but had been with the department for 11 years before that. He was suspended from office shortly after the federal charges against him were announced in February 2014.