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Ex-ICE Official Sentenced to 2 Years After Lying and Scamming Agency

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former official for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was sentenced Friday in Los Angeles to two years in prison and ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution for obstruction of justice, giving false information to a federal prosecutor and a federal judge in Florida, and devising a scheme to have his wife paid nearly $600,000 even though she did little work for the agency.

Ex-ICE assistant special agent in charge Frank Johnston, 55, of Whittier,Calif., who retired from ICE in August 2009 after 31 years was also ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution.

“Whenever public officials break the law, particularly those persons sworn to serve and protect the public, we must do everything we can to hold them accountable,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr in a statement.

 

Johnston was found guilty in two federal trials. In the first, he was convicted of making false statements that resulted in the delay – lasting nearly a year and a half – of a prison term for a man who received an 18-month sentence in a cigarette-smuggling case.

Johnston told a Justice Department prosecutor and a Florida federal judge that person was providing “ongoing cooperation” in two organized crime investigations being conducted in Los Angeles — when in fact he was not.

In a second trial in February, Johnston was convicted on charges that he and his wife, Taryn Johnston, engaged in a fraud scheme in which Taryn Johnson received approximately $582,000 in salary and benefits from ICE and its predecessor agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, even though she had done virtually no work for the agency and infrequently went to work, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. His wife was convicted and sentenced to 30 days behind bars.


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