TOPEKA, KAN. – A Kansas man admits to defrauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Program of approximately $1 million intended to help elderly and low income residents with rental housing expenses. Perry Johnson, 55, of Ozawkie pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement on loan or credit applications.

Rural Development works with rental property owners to subsize rent and maintenance repair expenses on behalf of low income and elderly tenants. Rural Development has a policy requiring all
properties to submit Identity of Interest (IOI) disclosures concerning any personal relationships with vendors performing work on properties.

According to court documents, between 2014 and 2017, Johnson worked as the regional manager of a company that managed 47 properties in Kansas. He was responsible for each property’s budget and approval of contracts. Johnson ignored the IOI policy and created approximately $1 million in vendor maintenance and repair invoices in the names of relatives and friends from which he financially benefited. Johnson also created false worksheets claiming his son resided at three different rural housing apartments although his son was never a tenant at any of those properties.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21, 2023. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The USDA – Office of Inspector General investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney is prosecuting the case.