“The cooperation of Dr. Johnson will advance the work of the state and federal investigation tremendously and propel us forward and down the road that we have been traveling for going on three years,” U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said Thursday morning.
In addition to 14-counts of bribery and conspiracy, the Justice Department is seeking more than $18 million in criminal forfeiture. The $18 million forfeiture includes $1 million of ill-gotten gains received by Johnson and his family and $17 million for work he fraudulently directed to connected contractors.
By federal sentencing guidelines, Johnson would face a virtual life sentence for the crimes he’s admitting, but he would likely receive a recommendation for downward departure due to his cooperation, Martin said.
Several members of Johnson’s family have been connected to the two-year college system corruption. However, they will not be prosecuted, Martin said. In his plea agreement, Johnson has taken full responsibility for arranging jobs for family members, in particular his son and daughter.
“The chancellor spelled out what the involvements are. He is the one who solicited those employees with those vendors,” Martin said. “He is taking full responsibility for those bribes. He is going to make restitution. As part of his agreement to come forward now, his children will not be prosecuted by this district.”
Prosecutors and investigators at the press conference today said that now is the time for members of the two-year college corruption conspiracy to come forward, before the investigation comes to them.