Guilty plea and sentencing hearings have been scheduled for James Linville, Thomas Johnson, & Amy Bennett at 10 am on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the United States courthouse, Room 200, located at 121 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN. You are welcome to attend this proceeding; however, unless you have received a subpoena, your attendance is not required by the Court. If you are a victim of the charged offenses and wish to speak at the plea hearing, please call our office well in advance of the scheduled hearing date. As court dates can change quickly, you may want to verify the date and time by using the VNS Call Center or revisiting this website.
The trial previously scheduled for defendants Thomas Johnson, Amy Bennett, and Joanie Watson on February 4, 2019, in New Albany, IN has been cancelled. These 3 defendants will not be going to trial as they filed petitions with the court to enter guilty pleas. I will let you know the date for the guilty plea and sentencing hearing once it has been scheduled by the court.
***Please note that defendant James Linville is still scheduled for trial on February 4, 2019 in New Albany, IN. ***
The United States Probation Office has determined that defendant, Thomas Johnson, has potentially violated the terms of his supervised release. As a result, a hearing to revoke or modify the defendant’s supervised release has been scheduled for November 15, 2018, at 1:30pm, at the United States Courthouse, Room 200, 121 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN before Judge Van Willis.
The trial previously scheduled for defendants James Linville, Thomas Johnson, Amy Bennett, and Joanie Watson on October 29, 2018 in New Albany, Indiana has been rescheduled by the court. The new trial date is scheduled for February 4, 2019, 9:30 am at the United States Courthouse, Room 200, 121 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN.
6/26/2018 – Jury Trial
The trial scheduled for July 30, 2018 has been rescheduled by the court. A trial is now scheduled before Judge Sarah Barker on October 29, 2018, 9:30am at United States Courthouse, Room 200, 121 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN for the case which involves defendants James Linville, Thomas Johnson, Amy Bennett, and Joanie Watson.
2/28/2018 – Indictment Filed
An indictment was filed on 2/28/2018 charging defendants James Linville, Thomas Johnson, Amy Bennett, and Joanie Watson with Consumer Fraud. Further, the Government alleges that the defendants fraudulently solicited donations to Wounded Warrior Fund, Inc. and Wounded Warrior Foundation, Incorporated based on the false pretense that the funds would be used for charitable purposes, including assistance to United States veterans and their families; instead, the donations were used for the personal benefit of the defendants. The government believes that victims may have contributed to one of these organizations via check or cash donation, in-kind donations, or gift cards.
Federal crime victims* have the following rights, as set forth in the Justice for All Act of 2004, 18 U.S.C. §3771:
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
(9) The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.
(10) The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims' Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 10607(c)) and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice.
*Under the statute, "the term ‘crime victim' means a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia. In the case of a crime victim who is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the legal guardians of the crime victim or the representatives of the crime victim's estate, family members, or any other persons appointed as suitable by the court, may assume the crime victim's rights under this chapter, but in no event shall the defendant be named as such guardian or representative.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana is committed to protecting the rights of crime victims. If you are a victim of an offense being prosecuted by our Office, our Victim/Witness Unit can make sure that you are notified of important stages of the case to help you exercise your rights. In addition, our Victim/Witness Unit can help refer you to agencies that provide other services to witnesses, such as compensation and counseling. For information or assistance with referrals, please contact:
United States Attorney's Office
10 West Market Street, Suite 2100
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204