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Identity Thief Sentenced, Pleads Guilty to Conducting Criminal Enterprise

LANSING – Johnny Richardson, 28, of Detroit, has been sentenced to 3-20 years for Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, the result of a joint investigation between the Department of Attorney General’s Financial Crimes Division and the U.S. Postal Service, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced.

Richardson’s enterprise operated by porting victims’ cellphone account information to “burner” cell phones. Then, using dark web identity information, he would hack into victims’ bank accounts and set up two-factor authentication with the burner cell phones. Richardson and other members of the conspiracy would then empty victims’ bank accounts or take out loans in their names, routing the money through several bank accounts. Often, they would have the banks send them checks from the victim’s bank accounts. Then they would intercept the mailed checks delivered to the unsuspecting victims’ homes.

“Identity theft constitutes a serious crime that can have devastating impacts on someone’s finances, economic security, and sense of personal privacy for a lifetime and an operation like this warrants a significant sentence,” Nessel said. “I appreciate the collaboration of the USPS with my team to bring down this criminal enterprise and I am extremely pleased with all their hard work.”

Richardson is currently incarcerated, serving 8 years for operating an unemployment fraud scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic. Richardson will also have levied against him court costs, crime victim fees, and financial restitution in the amount of $309,210.

In total, Richardson’s criminal enterprise netted over $309,000 for himself and his associates. Investigators seized over $100,000 in jewels, cash, and shoes. Richardson agreed to forfeit the property purchased with the stolen funds to offset the amount of restitution he owes. The property is being auctioned by the Department of Attorney General.

Delajuan Harris, Richardson’s primary co-conspirator, similarly pled guilty to one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and has been sentenced to 1 year in jail, 3 years’ probation, and restitution. He will be extradited to Alabama to face additional charges related to mail theft crimes.


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