Laytonsville couple faces prison time for investment scheme, tax evasion -- Gazette.Net


A Laytonsville couple has pleaded guilty to charges connected to a fraudulent advance fee scheme and tax evasion, the FBI said in a news release.

Shannon Johnson, 50, pleaded guilty on Friday. His wife, Yvette Johnson, 52, pleaded guilty on June 2.

The FBI said Shannon Johnson admitted that he ran a fraudulent advance fee scheme from 2006 to 2009. He “held himself out as a wealthy international investment banker who could provide millions of dollars and euros in financing to businesses and individuals,” the news release says.

In return, the Johnsons promised money that they said was in an overseas bank account.

The FBI said the plea agreement indicates that Shannon Johnson received about $3.7 million in advance fees, but didn’t provide the promised financing.

Instead, the Johnsons used the money to buy Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and BMW automobiles; travel on private jets; and fund the mortgage on their Laytonsville home.

At least 11 individuals and businesses were victimized, the FBI said.

Plea agreements also indicated that the Johnsons evaded taxes on income earned in the scheme and attempted to conceal their income and assets.

If the court accepts Shannon Johnson’s plea agreement, he will be sentenced to four to six years in prison. He is due to be sentenced on Sept. 8.

Yvettte Johnson faces a maximum of five years in prison when she is sentenced on Sept. 29.