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Jury convicts Minnesota man of using fake RV business in ND oilfields to buy island, other goodies

ST. PAUL -- A 51-year-old Corcoran, Minn., man who stole more than $2.1 million and bought an island with the money was found guilty Tuesday.

The FBI says Ronald David Johnson falsely promised North Dakota oil boom investors they would make money from the construction of an indoor RV park for workers on the Bakken oil field.

A federal jury convicted Johnson of nine counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

“Johnson is a classic con man who lured investors with empty promises of financial gain and false assurances to provide housing to hard-working oil workers,” Richard T. Thornton, FBI Minneapolis Division special agent in charge, said in a statement Tuesday.

Johnson took money from four investors for his indoor RV park idea, including a former girlfriend and his church pastor, according to the statement.

He told investors they would receive a cut of the profits from his idea for climate-controlled warehouses where oil field workers could live in their RVs, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Minnesota.

Johnson didn’t build warehouses with the investors’ money. He instead used it to repay prior investors, fund his personal cattle farm, take vacations, buy vintage cars and purchase real estate.

The real estate purchases include a 17-acre island on Mink Lake in Maple Lake, Minn.

No sentencing date has been set yet. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

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