Former Fifth Circuit Solicitor Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Fraud
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Daniel Edward Johnson, age 48, former Fifth Circuit Solicitor and resident of Blythewood, South Carolina, pled guilty in federal court to Wire Fraud. Senior United States District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie accepted the guilty plea and scheduled Johnson’s sentencing for June 4, 2019.
Facts presented in court established that Daniel Edward Johnson was the Fifth Circuit Solicitor from 2011 to 2018. The Solicitor’s Office serves both Richland and Kershaw Counties and receives funding from both, as well as from the federal government. Kershaw County pays the office-related credit card bills for select Solicitor’s Office employees.
During his time as Solicitor, Johnson used Solicitor’s Office funds to cover personal and non-office-related expenses. Johnson was issued Solicitor’s Office credit cards reading “DAN JOHNSON, Fifth Circuit Sol Office.” Using these cards, Johnson made a series of personal and non-office-related purchases, starting no later than 2016. In pleading guilty to the scheme, Johnson acknowledged that a November 2016 payment by Kershaw County covered personal expenses on the October 2016 credit card statement. That statement contained the following fraudulent transactions:
- September 7, 2016, charge for $208.79, at the Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations in Las Vegas.
- September 7, 2016, charge for $911.48, at the Doubletree Magic Mile hotel in Chicago.
- October 1, 2016, charge for $685.07, to Copa Airlines, an airline based in Panama.
- October 5, 2016, charge for $137.22, at the Hilton Columbia Center in Columbia, SC.
The total loss amount attributable to Dan Johnson is approximately $44,317.57. Johnson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, with a potential fine up to $250,000.
“Today’s plea will go a long way in restoring the public’s confidence in our justice system,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “The law comes in one size, and one size fits all. It fits the rich man and the poor man. It fits the citizen and the elected official. It fits the prosecuted and the prosecutor, and it certainly fits Dan Johnson. To the fine men and women of the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and to Solicitor Gipson, we know you welcome this day, as you move forward, out from under the cloud of Dan Johnson’s conduct. We look forward to continuing to partner with you to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice and to protect the citizens of South Carolina. I would also like to express my appreciation to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, with whom we worked closely to bring about justice today.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Winston D. Holliday, Jr., Alyssa Leigh Richardson, and William C. Lewis of the Columbia office are prosecuting the case.