June 25, 2024

A federal grand jury indicted the disassociated brother of an El Paso mayoral contestant, alleging his involvement in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scam under the pretext of being an NBA promoter.

Timothy France Johnson, 61 years old was formally accused on March 20 with seven charges of electronic fraud and three allegations of executing financial transactions in assets obtained from specified illicit activities, as per federal court documents.

Johnson is significantly related to El Paso’s potential mayor, Renard Johnson, who remains clear of any allegations concerning the supposed fraud.

“I found out about my distant brother’s indictment just like the rest of the public,” Renard Johnson revealed in a remark, “I haven’t been in touch with him for several years. I fully trust our justice system to conclusively address these accusations.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas officials reported that alleged Timothy Johnson worked as a third-party promoter for NBA pre-season games, “deceiving naive investors to financially back these pre-season matches.”

Alleged Ponzi Scheme Defrauds Over 30 Investors of $3 million

The indictment implies Timothy Johnson committed the scam via his firms: BOLO Entertainment LLC, BOLO Sports LLC, and Shoot N’2 Sports LLC.

The Ponzi scheme cost investors over $3 million stretching from Feb. 9, 2009, to May 14, 2020, as per a federal indictment. Approximately 30 investors endured losses in the scheme.

He reportedly enticed investors to invest and help sponsor NBA pre-season events. However, none of these funds ended up promoting any NBA pre-season games, as confirmed by officials.

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Around one-third of the $3 million procured from investors purportedly paid earlier investors with fabricated profit shares. Timothy Johnson allegedly used the leftover funds for personal expenditures.

Authorities affirm that Johnson “never divulged the misappropriation or the degree of the investors’ fund losses.”

The indictment specifies that investment amounts ranged from $12,000 to $61,508, with the majority of investments being around $50,000 each.

For each charge of wire fraud, Johnson could serve up to 20 years in a federal prison. Additionally, he could face 10 years for each money laundering offense, as per officials.

Records reveal that Johnson pleaded not guilty on April 11 and was granted a $50,000 signature bond pending his case. His next federal court hearing is scheduled for May 2.

Reach out to Aaron Martinez at amartinez1@elpasotimes.com or on Twitter @AMartinezEPT. Contributions to this report were made by Times reporter Adam Powell.