OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Three Oklahoma City residents have been sentenced for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Laura R. Johnson, 47, Thomas Johnson, Sr., 54, and Cheryl M. Ashley, 72, have been sentenced to collectively serve more than 21 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud connected to a scheme to take ownership of more than a dozen real properties without the consent or knowledge of the owners.
Public records show that the three defendants used fake documents from 2014-2019 in order to obtain titles to homes or other properties. The defendants mainly chose real properties that had delinquent property taxes and were subject to being auctioned by the Oklahoma County Treasurer’s Office.
Johnson, Johnson, and Ashley allegedly chose one home that had been owned by a woman who died in 2012. The defendants used bank records inside the home and forged a power of attorney to deceive the bank in order to withdraw more than $100,000 from the woman’s bank account.
Officials say after their attempt had failed, the conspirators tried other ways to withdraw the money. They attempted to forge checks on the decedent’s account and cause electronic transfers out of the account for their personal benefit.
On November 17, 2020, all three defendants pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Chief United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti found the defendants’ victims were vulnerable due to their age or financial status and sentenced the the three defendants as follows:
- Laura R. Johnson was sentenced on November 14, 2022, to 151 months in federal prison. This term of imprisonment will be followed by 4 years of supervised release. She was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal Service at sentencing.
- Thomas Johnson, Sr. was sentenced on November 15, 2022, to 42 months in federal prison. This term of imprisonment will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
- Cheryl M. Ashley was sentenced on November 16, 2022, to 60 months in federal prison. This term of imprisonment will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.