Man stole $2.1M from oil investors, spent it on private island, cattle farm, cars


A Minnesotan is accused of swindling investors out of more than $2.1 million by promising they could tap into the North Dakota oil boom – but instead spent their money on his cattle farm, vintage cars, and his own island.

Ronald David Johnson, 50, of Corcoran, was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Paul and will appear before a magistrate Thursday accused of stealing from investors in his "Indoor RV park" venture.

According to U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, Johnson came up with the idea to solve the need for housing for people working on the Bakken oil shelf in western North Dakota.

Rather than in "common, barracks-style housing," Johnson pitched the idea of putting them in indoor RV parks, large warehouses where workers could park RVs and have access to shared laundry and vending machines.

He managed to solicit $2.1 million from four investors in his Indoor RV Parks, LLC, telling them the money would be used to build and managed the parks, the charges allege.

But instead of using the money for that, charges say he spent $1.8 million on his personal cattle farm, vacations, vintage Chevrolets and to buy real estate.

This included the purchase of the entire 17-acre island on Mink Lake in Maple Lake, Minnesota.

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