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Press Release

Corcoran Man Sentenced To More Than 10 Years In Prison For Multi-Million Dollar Fraud In The Bakken Oil Fields

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

Acting United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced the sentencing of RONALD DAVID JOHNSON, 51, to 126 months in prison for stealing more than $2.1 million from victims who were hoping to invest successfully in the North Dakota oil boom. On June 19, 2017, following a five-day trial, a jury convicted JOHNSON on nine counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. JOHNSON was sentenced this morning by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.


“Ronald Johnson abused the trust of his victims only to enrich himself at their expense. He promised investors he would use their money to purchase land in North Dakota and to build indoor RV parks, but it was all a lie. Johnson simply stole their money,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson. “With today’s sentence, which includes prison time, restitution and a forfeiture order, Johnson is now being held accountable for his crimes.”


“IRS Criminal Investigation remains committed to uncovering investment fraud schemes and bringing to justice those who prey on investors for their personal financial gain,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeremy Shivers of the St. Paul Field Office IRS Criminal Investigation.  “Those who line their pockets with profits from investment fraud schemes should know they will not go undetected and there will be detrimental consequences for this type of criminal behavior as in the case of the 126- month sentencing handed down to Ronald Johnson today.”


“The FBI together with our law enforcement partners will tirelessly pursue those responsible for investment fraud schemes,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton, Minneapolis Division. “The sentence handed down today to include time in prison reflects the seriousness of the defendant's crimes.”


As proven at trial, JOHNSON came up with an investment idea to address the need to house oil workers in the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana. The idea, registered as Indoor RV Parks, LLC (“IRVPK”), would allow oil workers to eschew more common barracks-style housing in favor of comfortable indoor RV parks, specifically large climate-controlled warehouses where oil workers could park their RVs and have access to shared amenities like on-site storage, laundry and vending machines. Johnson promised his investors that as “members” of IRVPK, they would, based on the amount of the investment, receive a percentage of the rental income and other revenue generated by the indoor RV park. As part of his scheme, JOHNSON sent emails and letters to investors designed to lull them into a false sense of security and to postpone complaints regarding delays in the project.


As proven at trial, JOHNSON fraudulently solicited $2.1 million from four investors in IRVPK, telling the investors that their money would be used to build and manage indoor RV parks for oil workers. Instead of using the investor money to purchase land and start construction on the RV parks, JOHNSON used the funds to repay prior investors, fund his personal 51-acre cattle farm, take vacations, buy vintage Chevrolets, and purchase real estate, including a 17-acre island on Mink Lake in Maple Lake, Minn. As of today, IRVPK has not built any indoor RV Parks, has not acquired any property in North Dakota or Montana, and has a bank account that is empty.


This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS and the FBI.


This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Langner and Joseph H. Thompson.



Defendant Information:



Corcoran, Minn.



  • Wire fraud, 9 counts
  • Money laundering, 1 count



  • 126 months in prison
  • Three years of supervised release
  • $2,303,629 in restitution
  • Forfeiture of all property derived from criminal proceeds 




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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600


Updated November 20, 2017