Ex-state Sen. Bert Johnson once promoted his story of redemption, becoming an elected official after a conviction for a 1993 break-in and armed robbery at the Oakland Hills Country Club.
Now, he’s headed back behind bars for theft of taxpayers’ money after admitting he put a no-show employee on the state payroll.
Johnson, 44, of Highland Park, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit to 90 days in jail, followed by two years of supervised release, with the first 90 days of that being in home confinement. He also must put in 480 hours of community service and pay more than $23,000 in restitution.
Johnson pled guilty in March, admitting that from March 2014 through January 2, 2015, he employed a person as a community liason for a no-show job. The indictment alleges that Johnson borrowed thousands of dollars from the person, then hired her as a “ghost employee” to pay off the loan. In all, the person was paid more than $23,000.
“Public officials, especially those elected by the people, cannot treat the people’s money as their own,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “The defendant in this case treated taxpayer money as his own, to repay his personal debt. Such an egregious abuse of power will not be tolerated.”
Johnson became a politician, bouncing back from a conviction for a 1993 break-in and armed robbery at the Oakland Hills Country Club.