GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) – A Brandywine man pleaded guilty last week to using his government-issued credit card to obtain more than $1.1 million in cash advances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland announced Wednesday.

Eddie Ray Johnson, 60, was a civilian Air Force employee from 2003 to 2018, most recently as a travel coordinator in the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Legislative Liaison, according to his plea agreement. In that role, he planned congressional travel and reviewed and approved accounting packages submitted by trip escorts, among other duties. He admitted that from March 2014 through September 2017, he used his government-issued travel credit card to obtain more than $1.1 million in cash advances, at least $774,000 of which he diverted to his own personal use, according to a statement from the office.

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He frequently deposited the stolen funds into a non-interest bearing account opened in his name at a bank branch in the Pentagon. Employees in the Office of Legislative Liaison were instructed to open such accounts so that they could more easily deposit and withdraw government funds for official use without accruing interest, according to the statement. The statement also said after depositing the stolen funds, Johnson wrote checks to himself, which he deposited into his personal bank accounts, and spent the money for his personal benefit, including on living expenses, a baby grand piano, loan payments for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and family vacations. Johnson also admitted that he provided cash to his family members, including his spouse.

Investigators executed a search warrant at Johnson’s home on Nov. 6, 2019 and recovered $151,740 cash, according to the statement. Johnson admitted to investigators at least $4,000 were proceeds of his theft.

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As part of his plea agreement, Johnson has agreed to the entry of a restitution order in the full amount of the government’s losses.

Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for theft of government property, although the statement said actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm has scheduled sentencing for 10 a.m Sept. 3.

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CBS Baltimore Staff