RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's prison time for a Richmond businessman sentenced today for his role in an investment scheme that caused millions in losses. 12 On Your Side is following the case of: Julius Everett "Bud" Johnson.
Johnson was sentenced to 8-years and one month. But he walked out of Federal Court today a free man until August 22nd; at which time he's suppose to surrender to U.S. Marshals.
He tried out waiting reporters for two hours after his sentencing and then, he dashed from U.S. District Court. Johnson jumped into an S.U.V. without saying anything significant.
Prosecutors say he bilked investors out of 8.9 million dollars. Outside, a loved one intent on blocking his wife and family from view, stepped in front of our camera. Johnson told the judge he did not intend to hurt people, he was a church going man, and was sorry.
"For me, even though it wouldn't put the money back in my pocket, I wish he would be man enough to come forward," said Mica Craft. "He knew what he was doing. Be a man about it and come forward and come clean."
Mica Craft from Lawrenceville says he worked hard to save a fortune and now it's gone.
"Between me and my wife, we lost $195,000," he said.
Johnson owned several businesses, including a bankrupt awning company he bought from Reynolds heir, Richard Reynolds. The U.S. Justice Department says Johnson misused investors' funds, promising returns as high as 10%, and diverting money to pay other investors, and cover losses with other business ventures.
"They didn't have the license to sell these promissory notes so, they knew they were deceiving people out of their money," said Craft. "I am very mad. I'm very disappointed. I'm embarrassed you know with the amount of money that I lost and from speaking to a lot of other people, they are too."
Johnson pled guilty in April, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud ... And one count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. A restitution hearing is set for September 29th. His co-conspirator is already serving time.