Former County Housing Director Gets 37-Month Sentence

A federal judge sentence James Edward Johnson to 37 months in prison for his involvement in the Prince George's County corruption scandal that took down former County Executive Jack Johnson.

The former director of the county's housing department was sentenced to 37 months in prison Monday in a Greenbelt federal courthouse for his role in a in Prince George's County, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

James Edward Johnson, 67, of Temple Hills, served as the director of the county's Department of Housing and Community Development starting in September 2009. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit extortion during his time as director through October 2010.

In his role, Johnson decided which developers would receive federal grant money from within the HOME Investment Partnerships program to “fund the construction, purchase and/or rehabilitation of affordable housing for rent or home-ownership.”

According to federal prosecutors, Johnson conspired to commit extortion with developers and other county officials—including former county executive Jack Johnson—“by obtaining things of value, including campaign donations, checks and money. In exchange for the bribes, James Johnson and other county officials performed and agreed to perform favorable official actions.”

James Johnson received between $400,000 and $1 million in bribes in connection with the scheme, according to the release.

U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte also said after serving prison time, James Johnson will be on supervised release for two years. He will also pay a fine of $25,000 and have to give up the $46,300 that was taken by investigators from his safe deposit box.     

The sentence was announced by U.S. State's Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and other federal agents Monday.

Others in connection with the case will face the following sentences according to the release: 

  • in prison for his leadership role in the extortion conspiracy and tampering with a witness and evidence.
  • Dr. Mirza Hussain Baig, 68, of Burtonsville, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion in connection with paying bribes to Jack Johnson and James Johnson. Baig faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced May 3.
  • Patrick Q. Ricker, 53, of Bowie, pleaded guilty to his participation in the conspiracy and to tax evasion. Ricker faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 11, 2012.

All but one of the defendants have been convicted in the related investigations of corruption in Prince George’s County, according to the release.

Fred Hidson April 17, 2012 at 04:18 AM
What is wrong with with our leadership of this day and time do we all want to get over . Do anyone have any pride in what we do others? Is there anyone we can trust or we just look for ways we can build our checking account. Love your country as we love ourselves. God loves us all let us love each other. Whatever done in the dark shall come to light
Tea L April 18, 2012 at 03:32 AM
And they get to keep their retirement that we fund, that they did NOT earn?!?! Are we going to get that law changed, so that convicted extortionists do not get to screw the taxpayers twice or just continue to be the dumb apathetic victims we have been. I have written my county and state legislators. Has anyone else tríed to get this changed?
Donna Cabrera April 19, 2012 at 03:22 PM
@ Tea L - I don't think anyone is going to try to change the law about their retirement - because most of them are crooked and cannot get another job and this county government job is so well paid and they just take and take. . . .No one saved my money when I lost it in the 401K flop several years ago !!!! Just too bad for me.


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