FORMER TWO-YEAR COLLEGE SYSTEM CHANCELLOR SENTENCED TO 6 ½ YEARS IN PRISON
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced former Alabama two-year college system Chancellor ROY W. JOHNSON JR. to 6 ½ years in prison for engaging in a series of bribery and kickback schemes while he was at the system’s helm from 2002 to 2006, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.
U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced JOHNSON, 64, on charges of conspiracy, bribery, obstruction of justice and money laundering. The judge also ordered JOHNSON to forfeit $18,206,485 and his Opelika house. The government will take the necessary steps to return those forfeited assets to the State of Alabama.
“For four years as the highest-ranking executive in Alabama’s system of two-year public colleges and technical schools, JOHNSON steered lucrative contracts to the individuals who would pay him bribes,” Vance said. “He scoffed at the public’s trust and engaged in criminal conduct that involved elected state officials, college presidents, lobbyists, public employees and numerous contractors.”
“Prison is the just and necessary punishment in this case,” Vance said. “This office is committed to prosecuting anyone who steals from the taxpayers or tries to use a position of public trust for personal gain.”
“Public officials who would consider abusing the public trust should take note of the sentence handed down and expect to be held accountable for their actions,” Maley said.
“The IRS, along with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue public officials who violate our laws and the public trust. Today's sentence demonstrates the government's determination to restore and ensure that trust,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael D. McDaniel.
JOHNSON pleaded guilty in March 2008 to a 15-count information that charged him in connection with bribery and kickback schemes with several contractors who sought work with the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education and its subordinate institutions – more than 25 two-year and technical colleges across the state.
During his years as chancellor, JOHNSON used his position to corruptly enrich himself and members of his family. He solicited and received money and services from contractors and, in return, helped those contractors get business within the postsecondary department. After learning he was under investigation, JOHNSON tried to hide his crimes and obstruct the investigation through the use of false invoices, fraudulent loans and fictitious entities to move money from the state to himself and his family members.
As part of JOHNSON’s plea agreement, he agreed to cooperate with the government in its investigation of corruption in the two-year college system. He has testified for the federal government in the trials of five co-defendants.
The investigation has resulted in the conviction of 17 individuals on federal charges including bribery, money laundering, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. Along with JOHNSON, those convicted include former Southern Union State Community College president Joanne Jordan, former Alabama Fire College Director William Langston and former state legislators Suzanne Schmitz, Bryant Melton and E.B. McClain.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Acting Alabama Attorney General for this case, Richard Minor, the IRS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Miles M. Hart.
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