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$1 bail for man who admitted to defrauding banks, insurance

By Evan Anstey,


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo man has admitted to a slew of charges related to theft and insurance fraud.

According to the Erie County District Attorney’s office, Christian Johnson, 25, fraudulently obtained more than $52,000 from a number of banks. Officials say he did this by depositing forged checks into bank accounts he made for fake businesses. He would then withdraw the funds before the checks were returned, the DA’s office says.

According to authorities, this took place between April 2019 and November 2020.

Johnson, who was involved in a car crash in March 2020, also claimed he lost wages while employed by one of the fake businesses, the DA’s office said. As a result, they say he claimed another $20,000 through insurance fraud.

On Monday morning, Johnson pleaded guilty to the following felony charges:

-insurance fraud

-identity theft

-grand larceny (three counts)

-criminal possession of a forged instrument (four counts)

-scheme to defraud

As part of his plea, the DA’s office says Johnson must pay full restitution, which adds up to $72,340.

He’ll be sentenced on June 9, and faces up to 20 years in prison. Currently, the DA’s office says he’s being held in federal custody on an unusual amount for bail — one dollar.

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter .

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