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Report: Auditor finds Alaska Guardsman had complete control over funds in Guard program

Posted: October 22, 2011 - 11:11pm

ANCHORAGE — An auditor found that an Alaska National Guardsman accused of embezzling more than $220,000 had complete control over funds in a program intended to help Guard families, it was reported Friday.

Airman Jason Mathew Johnson was the administrator of the Guard’s Family Program and is accused of issuing checks to himself from August 2006 to September 2010. He is charged with scheme to defraud, first-degree theft and falsifying business records.

KTUU-TV reports the loss was discovered by an audit that showed funds were missing from two accounts over which Johnson had control. The audit showed checks had been made payable to Johnson and deposited directly into his personal accounts, the radio station said.

Johnson’s attorney, Andrew Lambert, declined comment on the case.

Detective Joseph Barth with the Alaska Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit said Col. Michael Williams, Johnson’s boss, told police in January that Johnson was embezzling funds from a program intended to help Guardsmen’s families faced with deployments.

“It wasn’t just stealing money from the military or the government,” Barth told KTUU. “He was taking money that was designated for other military members who had serious financial needs. That’s what really makes this troublesome in this case.”

Copies of the checks were given to the Guard’s state director of Family Programs, Janet Myers, who said the payments hadn’t been authorized. Myers said she subsequently confronted Johnson about the checks, asking him why he did it.

“He said it was too easy,” Myers said, in a statement to police.

According to an audit report provided by the Guard, the two embezzled accounts contained false business records as well as entries that falsely listed cancelled checks cashed by Johnson.

After obtaining a search warrant, Barth says he found consistent dates and deposit amounts for the checks in Johnson’s bank accounts, with total deposits of $228,723 over the time period of the alleged embezzlement.

Johnson remains in the Guard but his rank has been reduced from sergeant to airman.

Court records show Johnson posted $50,000 bail. He is due in court Nov. 3.

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