HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Camp Hill attorney has been sentenced to a year of probation and issued a $50,000 fine for obstructing a federal investigation.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Charles W. Johnston, age 75, of Fairfax County, VA, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Jennifer P. Wilson on July 8.
Johnston was previously convicted in November 2021 following a four day trial for obstructing a United States Department of Labor (DOL) investigation regarding the administration of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 520 Pension Plan.
Johnston maintained a law practice in Camp Hill, PA for over 40 years and served as legal counsel to the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 520 Health and Welfare, Pension, and Annuity Plans since 1972. In 2014, as the attorney for the Local 520 pension plan, officials say Johnston handled the plan’s response to a federal subpoena for records in connection with the DOL’s investigation into the pension plan’s financial activities.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says during Johnston’s trial, the government presented evidence that Johnson “intentionally concealed and withheld from DOL investigators emails, documents, and an internal audit concerning miscalculations of the Local 520’s pension and health and welfare benefits.”
The documents, which the government said Johnston possessed and was aware of, revealed “significant and material mismanagement of the pension fund, and their disclosure would have exposed the pension plan to further investigation.” However, when asked by investigators whether all the requested documents had been produced, Johnson lied and stated he had done so.
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“Like all attorneys, Charles Johnston began his career by swearing an oath to uphold the law. He ended that career decades later, by breaking it,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Interfering with a federal investigation is an attempt to subvert the course of justice. It’s a serious crime, and doubly so for an officer of the court. The FBI and our partners don’t allow people to work to undermine our cases. As this prosecution shows, doing so is an incredibly bad idea.”
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