Former Dunland real
estate agent Donald Johnson, of Porter, during his initial hearing Monday
entered pleas of not guilty to the 14 felony charges he is facing on
allegations that he sold securities which were not registered and committed
Johnson plead not
guilty to six counts of securities registration violation, six counts of
broker-dealer registration violation and two counts of securities fraud.
Each count is a
Class C felony punishable by a term of two to eight years.
Johnson was taken
into custody by Chesterton Police on March 16 following an investigation by
CPD and the Indiana Secretary of State’s Securities Division. His license
was revoked by the state in 2012.
According to the
probable cause affidavit by an investigator with the Secretary of State’s
Securities Division, a complaint was filed against Johnson alleging that
Johnson solicited moneys from persons “by guaranteeing a certain high
interest return on their money” often in a real estate venture in Tennessee.
On some occasions, investors did receive payments for a period of time but
interest would stop and Johnson told them it was unavailable when they
requested their investment back, the affidavit said.
there were six purported victims that lost tens of thousands of dollars that
Johnson allegedly withdrew from his business, Private Lending LLC, to pay
personal bills, and indicated there may be more victims.
Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford scheduled Johnson’s omnibus status
hearing for July 14 at 9 a.m. and a pre-trial hearing for Aug. 18 at 9 a.m.