Virginia man to spend 8 years in prison for $5.7 million investment fraud scheme


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond man has been sentenced for his role in a years long, multimillion dollar investment fraud scheme that stole money from individuals, startup businesses and even a volunteer fire department.

According to a release from Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, 69-year-old James Michael Johnson has been sentenced to 97 months in prison.

Johnson participated in a global scheme with a purported investment company called Chimera Group Ltd. to steal $5.7 million from victim investors, prosecutors say.

“Thanks to the outstanding work of the trial team and our law enforcement partners, the defendant has been held accountable for inflicting significant economic harm on his victims and abusing their trust,” Parekh said.

The scheme lasted from July 2014 to March 2019. During that time Johnson and other Chimera Group conspirators would promise people a sum of money at a later date in exchange for advanced payment made upfront, prosecutors say. They also fabricated letters of credit and other documents and used them to convince victims that their payments would be protected.

The scheme involved escrow attorneys who would make false promises to victims that their money would remain secure while investing with the group.

One of Johnson’s co-conspirators from Midlothian, Virginia, has a sentencing scheduled for May 27.

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