A retired Chicago police commander has pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud.
Kenneth Johnson was accused of stealing more than $360,000 in Social Security payments that were actually intended for his mother, over the course of 23 years. She died in May of 1994, and he continued to collect them after her death. His continued collection was discovered in November of 2017 by the Social Security Administration.
The U.S. Attorney in a one-page document filed in November of 2018 says that Johnson did “steal, purloin, and knowingly convert to his own use money of the United States, namely, approximately $363,064 in funds administered to the Social Security Administration, which funds defendant was not entitled to receive.
Johnson pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of theft of government funds. He is now facing two years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. His sentencing hearing has been set for September 11th.
According to details from his plea agreement, Kenneth Johnson and his mother had a joint bank account together. That bank account was where her Social Security benefits were automatically electronically deposited. When his mother died, Johnson failed to notify the government of her death, and continued to collect the money.
Kenneth Johnson had retired within the last year, after spending over 30 years with the Chicago Police Department. He worked as a commander in the 7th District before retiring in August of 2018.
Johnson joined the Chicago Police Department in 1986. He had a reputation for tackling crime and reducing violence in the Englewood District on the South Side, one of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that he was “shocked and very disappointed” by the news. “I knew Commander Johnson well from his efforts to reduce violence in Englewood,” he also said, and added that the allegations “erode the public’s trust and tarnish his service to Chicago.”