A brazen executive in North Carolina stole more than $5 million from a medical technology company to pay for trips to Mexico, stays at the Trump International Hotel in New York and a $145,000 tab at an upscale steakhouse, prosecutors said.
The embezzlement trial of Hugh Franklin Johnson II, 44, was set to begin Monday after prosecutors charged the former BMG LabTech manager with bilking $5.5 million from his employer between 2012 and 2017 to finance a luxurious lifestyle, the News & Observer reported.
Johnson allegedly made 333 unauthorized wire transfers to benefit himself and his friends to pay for the pricey Mexico jaunts, as well as stays at the Ritz Carlton in Florida and a $145,000 bill at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. He also made large donations to a church he previously attended, the newspaper reported.
Johnson also owns three homes in the county and has at least five luxury vehicles, court documents show.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said the $5.5 million is the largest sum any trial defendant has ever been accused of stealing in county history.
“Generally speaking, in these cases you see a consistent pattern of behavior from a person in a position of trust who had sold control,” Freeman told the newspaper.
Johnson also allegedly signed up a man who was not employed by the Germany-based company to its health, dental and life insurance plans in 2016 and 2017, WRAL reported.
“We are shocked at this incident,” company officials said in a statement last year. “As we work to address it, we want to assure our clients and customers that the financial health of our company remains strong. Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, we have no further comment at this time.”
Johnson, who was fired by the company following his arrest, told a judge last year that he also worked as an active recruiter for Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh.
But the church’s pastor, Bishop Patrick Wooden, told the News & Observer last year that Johnson wasn’t even an active member of its congregation.
“He has never recruited new members or served on any board,” Wooden told the newspaper. “He might come to church two or three Sundays in a row, but then we might not see him for a month.”
Photo Credit: New York Post