Monday, October 31, 2005


Reverend Charged with Stealing Lottery Winnings From Homeless Man

Via YH:

Stafford County, Virginia - A Stafford County man is accused of taking $14,090 in lottery winnings from a dementia patient, then telling him he never won.

John Edward Johnson, a 53-year-old man court papers list as a reverend, was charged this month with felony embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretenses. He's free on bond.

Police describe the victim, Larry C. Barbour, as a semi-homeless man who won the Virginia Lottery on Aug. 25. According to a search warrant affidavit, Barbour told Johnson about his luck.

Johnson invited Barbour to live with him at a home on Raintree Boulevard in Stafford, said he'd help with the man's finances and deposited the lottery check into his own bank account, according to the affidavit.

When the check cleared Aug. 30, according to the affidavit, Johnson booted Barbour and kept the lottery winnings. Barbour told investigators that Johnson said he'd never won the lottery and it was in his imagination.

Johnson also took Barbour to the Social Security Administration to have himself designated as Barbour's representative payee, according to the affidavit.

Stafford detectives say they have learned that Barbour did in fact win the lottery and that the money was deposited into Johnson's account.

Barbour reported the situation to the Sheriff's Office on Sept. 16, and Johnson was arrested less than three weeks later.

The status of the winnings was not available last night.

According to Virginia court records, Johnson was convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement earlier this year and was sentenced to serve two days in jail.

That incident stemmed from a theft valued at less than $200 at Shoppers Food Warehouse in Stafford, said Capt. Billy Bowler, commander of the county's criminal investigations division.

Johnson hasn't had a preliminary hearing yet on the most recent two charges, according to court records.

It is not clear which, if any, church Johnson is affiliated with.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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