Lekevie C. Johnson, a former Champaign, IL pastor, pleaded guilty on December 1st to federal program misapplication, student loan misapplication, and false statement in bankruptcy. Johnson operated a not-for-profit corporation that received federal grant funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide summer enrichment programs for low-income students. However, he admitted to misapplying $25,700.74 of the HUD grant funds for his own benefit, including making numerous ATM cash withdrawals at casinos.
He also admitted to obtaining federal student loans to attend Liberty University’s online Master of Arts program but using $31,291.62 of the loans for non-educational expenses, including gambling at casinos. In 2020, Johnson and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and falsely claimed that he only received $42,900 from his church in 2019.
Johnson faces statutory penalties for his crimes, including a maximum 10-year prison sentence, a maximum of $250,000 in fines, and up to three years of supervised release for federal program misapplication. For student loan misapplication and false statements in bankruptcy, he faces separate statutory penalties of up to five years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines, and a maximum of three years of supervised release.
Bankruptcy fraud is a serious crime that can result in severe consequences, including imprisonment and fines. You need to be honest and forthcoming when filing for bankruptcy in order to avoid potential legal issues. If you are considering bankruptcy or have questions about the process, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. At Gillman, Bruton & Capone Law Group, we have a team of skilled attorneys who can help you navigate the bankruptcy process if you determine that that is the best course of action.