Ex-Con Vegas Entrepreneur Charles ‘Junior’ Johnson Will Return to Prison for Hiding Casino Funds from Feds

Posted on: August 12, 2019, 06:51h. 

Last updated on: August 12, 2019, 11:25h.

A former Las Vegas entrepreneur who went to prison on federal fraud charges more than a decade ago will return there. US District Judge Danny Reeves ruled last week in Lexington, Kentucky that Charles E. “Junior” Johnson, Jr. violated the terms of his recently ended supervised release, in part by not revealing his gambling accounts and six-figure losses at a major Las Vegas casino.

A federal judge ruled former Las Vegas entrepreneur Charles Johnson Jr. (seen here in the early 2000s) failed to disclose business arrangements and accounts with casinos during the time he was on supervised release for defrauding investors. He will go back to prison next month and serve an additional 10 months as a result. (Image: Lexington Herald-Leader)

Johnson will now serve another 10 months for filing false statements with his probation offer and failing to note losses of more than $475,000 at Wynn Resorts casinos on mandatory expenditure reports, among other charges.

In November 2008, Johnson received a nine-year sentence on charges of defrauding investors, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice related to PurchasePro, a Las Vegas company he created during the tech boom more than 20 years ago.

The company served as an online exchange for casinos looking to procure products used in hotel guest rooms, including toiletries and linens. It went public in September 1999 and saw its stock price double on the first day of trading. But the stock began to fall after missing revenue targets in April 2001.

In 2002, PurchasePro filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A federal investigation subsequently determined that Johnson and other company executives exaggerated sales figures, leading to the charges.

When a judge sentenced Johnson to prison, he tacked on three years of supervised release, which began in April 2016.

Johnson was also required to pay $9.7 million in restitution. The US Probation Office (USPO) set up a payment plan for him to pay just $300 per month, meaning it would take him more than 2,694 years to pay the entire amount.

Through March 2019, his restitution payments equaled $10,729.

Johnson Still an Entrepreneur

On March 29, the USPO accused Johnson of violating the terms of his release. Namely, he failed to mention on his net worth statement his holdings in specific companies, and that he held accounts at the Red Rock Casino and Wynn in Las Vegas. Johnson’s probation officer questioned him about the gambling in March, court records show. Johnson tried to explain that he did it “on behalf of the businesses he controlled.”

Prosecutors said Johnson managed five companies that he did not previously disclose and had access to bank accounts for those businesses. He then used funds received from those businesses to gamble like a high roller.

On July 2, 2018, Johnson brokered a $1 million deal between DC Solar and a company he managed, Luminary Diffusion Systems.

From there, he made a series of transfers between the companies he managed before finally transferring $100,000 his account at the Red Rock. He received a cashier’s check there and took it to Wynn. A week later, he transferred $200,000 from one of his business accounts to his personal bank account before transferring it to Wynn. In all, between July 2, 2018, and Jan. 23, 2019 he transferred $475,000 into these two Las Vegas casino accounts.

Records indicate that Johnson won $52,200 at Red Rock, but lost $476,875 at the Wynn.

(Johnson) still refuses to acknowledge his guilt from his prior conviction, told a series of lies in written and verbal form to his probation officer in an effort to avoid or minimize repayment of the restitution he owes his victims,” wrote Paul McCaffrey, an assistant US attorney in Kentucky in a memo detailing the violations.

Prosecutors recommended Johnson go back to prison for 10 months, and Judge Reeves concurred.

Bets Are Off the Table

The ex-con is scheduled to report to the US Marshals Office on Sept. 9 to begin serving his sentence. After he finishes that, Johnson must also complete 26 more months of supervised release.

The special terms of his supervised release will keep him from offering investment or business opportunities to others.

Further, Johnson is “prohibited from gambling in any form until the restitution balance is paid full,” Reeves stated in his order.

Johnson’s attorney did not respond to a Casino.org request for comment.