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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 19, 2022

Bryan man sent to prison for receiving PPP funds while under indictment

HOUSTON – A 46-year-old Texan has been ordered to prison following his conviction of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Keith Anton Johnson pleaded guilty March 10.

Today, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ordered Tran to serve 14 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court considered Johnson’s fraudulent statements on multiple official documents he used to secure $123,000 in Payroll Protection Loans. Specifically, he falsely claimed he was not currently under indictment for any other crime. In imposing the sentence, Judge Hughes noted that Johnson stole not just from the government, but the taxpaying citizens of the United States who made the emergency relief possible.   

At the time of his plea, Johnson admitted that in 2020, he lied on multiple documents while applying for a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan. At the time of his application, Johnson was under indictment in Harris County for theft over $300,000 in connection with construction fraud allegedly committed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Johnson would have been ineligible to receive PPP funds due to that indictment.   

Johnson applied for the fraudulently obtained PPP loan by claiming the loan was to be used for the employees of a bar and live music venue he owned in Bryan called Southerns. That venture failed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnson was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

FBI and Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas H. Carter prosecuted the case.

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Updated September 19, 2022