Former Buffalo Firefighter Sentence for Schemes to Defraud

Modified: July 27, 2022 11:11am

7/27/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 36-year-old Robert Johnson, Jr. of Buffalo was sentenced yesterday afternoon before State Supreme Court Judge Paul B. Wojtaszek to an indeterminate sentence of 2 to 4 years in prison. He was sentenced as a second felony offender.

On three separate occasions between July 2016 and August 2016, the defendant applied for two auto loans and one credit card through a local credit union. The defendant defrauded the financial institution on his applications by using a juvenile’s Social Security number supported by fictitious employment and earnings information. The applications were approved, which allowed the defendant to purchase two vehicles, with a combined total value of $41,000.00, and obtain a credit card with a $20,000.00 limit. Just over a year later, the cars were repossessed for non-payment and the credit card account was closed with a balance in excess of $20,000.00.

 In December 2017, the defendant, with the intent to defraud, applied for two auto loans at two different credit unions. On each application, he used a second Social Security number that did not belong to him and submitted fictitious employment and earnings information. Both of the loan applications were denied. 

On January 12, 2017, the defendant deposited a forged check of $12,791.91 into his bank account. When the check became available the following day, the defendant withdrew $12,700.00 from his checking account, ultimately stealing the money from the bank.

In April of 2022, two days before jury selection was scheduled to begin, Johnson pleaded guilty to all eight charges in the indictment against him:

  • Three counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree (Class “D” felonies)
  • One count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony)
  • One count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (Class “D” felony)
  • Two counts of Attempted Identity Theft in the First Degree (Class “E” felony)
  • One count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (Class “E” felony)

As part of his sentence, Judge Wojtaszek ordered the defendant to sign Confessions of Judgement in favor of the bank and credit union, totaling $59,748.00 as well as a lack of permission affidavit in favor of the juvenile whose Social Security Number was used by the defendant without permission.

DA Flynn commends Senior Investigator Andre Dunlap of the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit and Special Agent Benjamin Kabat of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General for their work in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Jurusik of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit and Assistant District Attorney Ashmita Roka of the Felony Trials Bureau.