PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Monday morning, a Portland non-profit founder pleaded guilty to stealing more than $320,000 in COVID relief funds since March 2021.
Court documents reveal that Theodore Johnson founded the local non-profit Ten Penny International Housing Foundation in February 2017. Johnson also acted as the organization’s director of operations.
About a year after Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the former director submitted his first Paycheck Protection Program application in March 2021.
According to the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office, Johnson claimed that Ten Penny had 16 employees as well as an average monthly payroll of more than $57,000. The 62-year-old then submitted illegitimate tax documents and made a fake IRS stamp to support his claim. As a result, Northeast Bank issued a PPP loan of more than $143,000 to Johnson’s organization.
In May 2021, he sent two more PPP loan applications in which he reportedly stated that he used the first loan for eligible expenses. Central Willamette Credit Union then paid out a loan of more than $130,000 to Johnson.
Officials say that Johnson also submitted a fraudulent Oregon Cares Fund application, after which he collected an additional $34,975.
The former director was charged by criminal information with one count of bank fraud on Monday, Oct. 31.
“Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and five years’ supervised release,” the Department of Justice said in a release. “He will be sentenced on March 16, 2023, before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.”
Johnson has entered a plea agreement and now owes more than $321,000 in restitution.