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Criminal Enterprise Arrest Results in Plea, Seizure of $100,000 in Shoes, Jewelry, Cash

LANSING – An Oakland County man has pled guilty to Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, for porting cell phone account information without permission in order to empty the victims’ bank accounts or take out loans in the victims’ names.

Johnny Richardson entered his plea on Friday, January 20, 2023, in the 3rd Circuit Court in front of Judge Paul J. Cusick. The charge stems from Richardson’s activities, which included hacking into the victims’ bank accounts by utilizing dark web identity information and using the ported cell phone numbers for two-factor authentication. The funds from the victims’ bank accounts and the unauthorized loans would then be routed through several other bank accounts. Richardson’s associates would intercept the mailed checks delivered to unsuspecting victims’ homes.

In total, Richardson’s criminal enterprise netted over $379,000 for himself and his associates. Investigators seized over $100,000 in jewelry, cash, and shoes. He agreed to forfeit the property purchased with the stolen funds to offset the amount of restitution he owes. The shoes will be auctioned by the State of Michigan using M&W Auction in Grand Rapids.

Richardson is currently serving a federal prison sentence for a separate Unemployment Fraud scheme that he ran during the pandemic. That case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“The illegal activities of this defendant were incredibly serious,” Nessel said. “The pleas in these cases will ensure accountability and help offset the losses sustained by the victims of these crimes.”

On January 11, 2023, Richardson’s right-hand man, Delajuan Harris, pled guilty in the 3rd Circuit Court to one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise. He will be extradited to Alabama to face additional charges related to mail theft that occurred in that state as a part of Richardson’s scheme.

Between June 2018 and August 2019, Richardson and his associates attempted to steal over $1.8 million, but only obtained over $379,000.

This matter was referred to the Michigan Department of Attorney General Financial Crimes Division from the U.S. Postal Police.

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