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Sonoma County Hells Angels leader gets prison for loan fraud

A Hells Angels leader from Santa Rosa was sentenced to federal prison for his part in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost lenders millions of dollars.

Josh Leo Johnson, 36, must spend a year in custody and repay $130,000 to Sun Trust Mortgage, federal prosectors said Thursday.

Johnson, vice president of the Hells Angels chapter in Sonoma County, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in December to wire fraud.

He must serve half his year-long sentence in federal prison, but he can spend the other half in home detention, Judge William Alsup ruled on Wednesday. He also ordered Johnson to spend three years on supervised release.

In 2007, Johnson submitted false financial documents to get a loan on property on Oak Leaf Avenue in Healdsburg, according to a 2011 federal Grand Jury indictment.

Johnson created a fake company and altered bank statements, prosecutors said. His actions were part of a larger scheme to obtain properties that, in several cases, were used to grow marijuana, according to the indictment.

The properties were in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Sonoma and San Francisco. Other victimized lenders were Washington Mutual and Downey Savings.

Seven other people — including four Sonoma County residents, a San Francisco loan officer and a San Pablo accountant — were indicted in the case.

The conspiracy was led by the San Francisco loan officer, who recruited straw buyers to obtain more than $10 million in mortgage and refinancing loans in exchange for cash, prosecutors said.

A former president of Sonoma County's Hells Angels, Raymond Foakes, 48, was sentenced in January to more than five years in prison for his role.


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