September 2, 2022
On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, Shanadoa Wayne Johnson, 44, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for numerous convictions. He had been convicted on July 13, 2022, of numerous charges for scamming many Siskiyou County citizens including several who were very elderly.
The defendant’s contact with the criminal justice system began with a conviction in federal court in Montana in 2008 for fraudulent misuse of a social security number to obtain benefits. Since that time, he has been convicted of 8 felonies and 10 misdemeanors, comprising crimes in 3 different states and 5 California counties, often for theft or financial elder abuse.
The defendant was active in Siskiyou County between March and early August of 2020. He came to the attention of the Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office after a complaint was made to the California State Licensing Board (CSLB). Almost immediately, numerous complaints came in from all over Siskiyou County. Some law enforcement officers who responded told complainants that it was a civil matter. Others took reports and forwarded them to the DA’s Office. The case was immediately assigned to Chief Deputy District Attorney John Quinn, who began to observe the patterns in Johnson’s behavior.
The defendant approached people, mostly elderly citizens, at their homes and offer to do roofing work or driveway work. Sometimes he claimed to have worked at the property before, or that he was doing warranty work. He would do little or no work of any value, sometimes damaging the property in order to solicit more work to do, often leave the person’s property compromised by his effort, and extract large payments for the work he claimed to have done or claimed he would do. Johnson was not a licensed contractor, but told some of his victims that he was, and told some that he was boss of a paving business. To others he falsely claimed affiliation with reputable companies and individuals, even going so far as creating false business cards and car door magnets with fraudulent affiliations, and on one occasion providing a false contractor license number. He often left the victims’ properties in such a state that they had to hire qualified contractors to repair the damage—often at great expense. Johnson’s victims in Siskiyou County during this period ranged in age from 49 to 98. Many were in their 80’s and 90’s. Though many victims paid him according to the exorbitant demands, others balked. At such times he would often become demanding and cajoling, which could progress to angry and threatening behavior. He used different scams with different people, including requesting replacement checks for checks he had already cashed, or for checks that he then stole from the victim’s home—resulting in a double fraudulent loss for the victim. During these four months in 2020 the defendant extracted more than $100,000 from the known victims in Siskiyou County.
Using court orders to obtain records, investigators traced checks deposited into the defendant’s accounts to find almost a dozen additional victims. Investigators were able to find a total of at least $510,408 of income obtained by the defendant from 2019 to 2021. The defendant had not filed a tax return in California, Oregon, Idaho or Washington since at least 2015. He also had not filed a federal tax return during that period except for a late filed federal return in 2019 where the defendant claimed $1 of income, but which allowed him to claim a federal Covid stimulus payment.
Siskiyou County’s last known victim reported to law enforcement on August 4, 2020. Mr. Quinn charged Johnson with felony charges on August 14, 2020. A felony arrest warrant was issued by Judge William J. Davis in the amount of $200,000. The defendant was believed to be in the Klamath Falls area after fleeing Siskiyou County. Unfortunately, the defendant’s presence in Klamath Falls was publicized, which caused him to flee that area and he was at large for some several months. In November he was arrested on arrest warrants from Siskiyou County, Deschutes County (OR) and Churchill County (NV), in a motel in Cowlitz County, Washington. Again, misfortune struck. Though Johnson was the Siskiyou DA’s top priority for arrest at the time, another Siskiyou County Judge authorized, without contacting the DA’s Office, Johnson’s release on his own recognizance with an appearance date in Yreka of December 15th. Predictably, Johnson failed to appear on December 15th and another warrant was issued for his arrest.
Shanadoa Johnson then remained at large until November 20, 2021, when he was arrested in Butte County, CA despite giving a false name to attempt to avoid arrest. During the preceding year he had continued to defraud elderly people at an alarming rate. In the Siskiyou County trial, Mr. Quinn put on evidence to show that he defrauded seniors in Humboldt County, Lake County, Nevada County, Churchill County (NV), and Klamath County (OR) during this period when he should have been in the Siskiyou County Jail. These 5 victims alone were defrauded for almost $85,000 including one 96 year old woman who couldn’t see very well and asked the defendant to fill out one of her checks to him in the amount of $88. He wrote the check for $8,800 and cashed the check at a bank.
In December 2021, while he was in the Siskiyou County Jail, Johnson applied for welfare benefits with the assistance of his girlfriend. He claimed that he had no money or income and was currently paying rent (though the jail does not charge rent). The welfare benefits were issued, and the money was placed in Johnson’s Siskiyou County Jail bank account for his use while in custody.
The jury convicted Johnson of 38 felonies and 16 misdemeanors.
After he was convicted, Johnson did not stop his bad behavior. Between the verdict and the sentencing, he did all of the following:
Wrote a letter to his girlfriend telling her to lie and say that a DA Investigator told her not to come to court and testify for him, so that he could file for a mistrial,
Asked his sister to contact his girlfriend with the same request,
Falsely told a bail bond company that he owned 3 properties he could use as bail collateral,
Gave the bail bond company 2 bank account numbers—one of which belonged to one of the testifying witnesses at trial, which he would have surreptitiously written down during the trial,
Gave the account numbers to another inmate and arranged for them to steal money from the victim’s account for bail,
At sentencing Johnson faced a maximum sentence of 29 years and 8 months in state prison. At the sentencing hearing Judge Lawrence choose to strike 4 elder enhancements and an enhancement for committing crimes while out of custody on release and run other convictions concurrent. This reduced Johnson’s sentence by 7 years.
Despite knowing all of this information, Judge Lawrence sentenced the defendant to 22 years in state prison. As he left the courtroom it was reported that Johnson turned and put a “gypsy curse” on everyone in the courtroom. According to District Attorney Kirk Andrus, “Shanadoa Johnson cannot help himself. He considers every day how to lie, cheat and steal. If anybody deserves a maximum state prison sentence for this type of crime, it is him.”
Mr. Andrus also cautioned that there are certainly more victims, both in Siskiyou County and likely in all surrounding counties. He encouraged people: “Please do not be embarrassed to report such behavior, either from Shanadoa Johnson or from any other person. This is not your fault. This is a scam, not unlike every other kind of scam developed to prey upon the trusting human nature of good people. The victims in this case were experienced and intelligent and yet found themselves victimized by somebody who convincingly passed himself off as an expert. Whether you were victimized by this defendant, or any other person do not hesitate to report the behavior to any law enforcement officer, to the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, or to the California State Licensing Board.”