HOUSTON – A Texas bar owner is accused of fraudulently receiving federal COVID-19 aid.
Keith Anton Johnson, 44, is charged with one count of wire fraud, according to the Department of Justice. The government said Johnson secured $123,500 in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funds as part of the CARES Act.
According to the indictment, Johnson owned and operated KJR Entertainment Holdings LLC in conjunction with others from January 2020 through July 2020. KJR Entertainment also runs Southerns, a bar and live music venue in Bryan, Texas.
Johnson allegedly submitted payroll information justifying the basis of a PPP loan. On these forms, he allegedly claimed that an employee worked for him, but in fact, that employee had quit in January 2020, according to the charges.
The indictment also alleges Johnson was ineligible for the COVID-19 aid due to the pending indictment in a separate case.
If convicted, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine, according to the DOJ.
The FBI and Harris County Precinct One Constables Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Carter is prosecuting the case.