VALPARAISO | Two new charges have been filed against Donald Johnson, who already faces 14 felony counts stemming from complaints of people losing tens of thousands of dollars in what they believed were legitimate real estate deals.
The latest felony charges of forgery and theft accuse the 49-year-old Porter resident of signing other people's names to an insurance check and keeping the $8,444, according to charging information.
The 2011 check was issued after Johnson made a claim for roof damage on a house he was purchasing, police said. The check was made payable to four people — Johnson, his wife and the couple who were selling the house.
The original owner of the house reportedly told police he knew nothing about the check and that the signatures for he and his late wife were fraudulent.
He believed the roof repairs cost $2,000, police said.
The original owner of the property told police that Johnson called the cashed insurance check a mistake and offered him $5,000 to "make it go away."
Johnson pleaded not guilty in late April to accusations from former clients, co-workers and fellow church members claiming they received little, if any, return on their investments made with Johnson and that the money invested would not be returned.
According to court documents, Johnson was soliciting and selling unregistered securities by guaranteeing a certain high-interest return, usually in a real estate development.