Disbarred Attorney Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Clients
Memphis, TN - Former Memphis attorney David J. Johnson, age 71, pleaded guilty to criminal
information charging him with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud clients of
approximately $1.2 million, announced United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III.
According to the information filed in United States District Court, Johnson primarily practiced
real estate law, but also served as attorney and trustee for several estates. Johnson was required
to maintain an escrow account, sometimes known as a "trust account," to keep his personal funds
and funds used to operate his law practice separate from monies he held in escrow or trust for
clients. Johnson was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court effective November 25, 2011.
According to the information, beginning on an unknown date until approximately September
2011, Johnson stole client funds from one of several trust accounts and used the stolen funds to
make loans to, or invest in, business entities in which he had a personal interest. According to
the information, in some instances he used funds held in trust for one client to replace funds
stolen from another client.
Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge S. Thomas Anderson on
November 15, 2012. The wire fraud charge to which Johnson pleaded guilty carries a maximum
penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret
Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carroll L. Andre, III
on behalf of the government.