For several years, Ronald David Johnson enjoyed the perks of being a successful businessman: a cattle farm, an island, vacations and cars.
But now the 51-year-old Corcoran man will spend years in prison for engaging in what federal prosecutors say was a multi-million-dollar fraud. He built that wealth by stealing more than $2 million from investors hoping to profit from North Dakota's oil boom.
Prosecutors said Johnson used more than $1.8 million of the money to purchase cars and real estate for his own personal use. In June, a jury convicted Johnson on nine counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
On Monday, a federal judge in St. Paul sentenced Johnson to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay $2.2 million in restitution and forfeit all the property he purchased with the money.
Prosecutors said Johnson registered Indoor RV Parks, LLC in January 2013. He told four investors that the money would be used to build and manage indoor RV parks that would house oil workers in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana. Oil workers could also park their recreational vehicles and share amenities like on-site storage, laundry and vending machines.
He promised his investors they would get a percentage of the profit generated by the indoor RV park based on the amount of the investment.
Instead, prosecutors said Johnson used the money to repay prior investors, fund his 51-acre cattle farm, take vacations, buy vintage Chevrolets and purchase a 17-acre island on Mink Lake in Maple Lake, Minn.
"The FBI together with our law enforcement partners will tirelessly pursue those responsible for investment fraud schemes," Richard Thornton, the FBI's special agent in charge of the Minneapolis office, said in a statement. "The sentence handed down today to include time in prison reflects the seriousness of the defendant's crimes."