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Press Release

Owner of Cake Shop Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – Cheron Marie Johnson, 31, of Portsmouth, was sentenced today to 90 months in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering and for false statement in a tax filing.  According to the plea agreement, Johnson will pay $338,860 in criminal forfeiture and $211,278 in restitution.

According to court documents, Johnson laundered over $840,000 through 11 bank accounts over the course of a four year conspiracy with her husband, Vernon Norvell, who was sentenced on July 19 to 16 years in prison for his role in distributing over 126 pounds (57 kilograms) of cocaine. 

Johnson deposited nearly a half-million dollars in cash into numerous accounts, and together with Norvell, used a real estate transaction and cake business, “G’s Cake Shop – Cake For All Occasions” in Virginia Beach to launder the drug proceeds.  In 2014, Johnson claimed unemployment benefits for six months while simultaneously depositing over $322,000 into her various accounts.

Johnson and Norvell used the proceeds of his cocaine distribution to purchase a home in the Crystal Lake neighborhood of Portsmouth, several automobiles, expensive clothing and other material items.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia; Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Washington Field Division; and Thomas Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge, Washington D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Butler and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Bosse and Joseph E. DePadilla prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:16-cr-48

Updated August 2, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud