'You're just a thief who was greedy:' Man accused of stealing $5.8M from Cary business pleads guilty

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A man accused of stealing millions from a business in Cary pleaded guilty Monday.

Prosecutors said Hugh Johnson II, 44, who was a manager at BMG LabTech, used a company credit card to take $5.8 million to fund a lavish lifestyle.

He will serve a minimum of 140 months in jail.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman called this "quite possibly the largest embezzlement case in Wake County history."

Court documents state Johnson made "hundreds of transactions" for himself and his friends between 2012 and 2017.

"They found personal spending on everything from gas to pornography," said prosecutor Nishma Patel.

State attorneys said the transactions showed expensive trips to Cancun with his friends, stays at the Ritz Carlton, a wedding gift worth $5,000 and a $25,000 birthday dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

Johnson took a deal -- pleading guilty to six counts of obtaining property by false pretenses in an amount in excess of $100,000 and two counts of obtaining property by false in an amount less than $100,000.

George Kelly, Johnson attorney, called his client a "nice man," and said "never in a million years would he walk into a bank and rob it. In this case he was given the keys to the vault."

During the hearing, the judge said the state dismissed several charges including six counts of embezzlement.

Johnson was ordered to pay restitution for more than $5.8 million. He has yet to be sentenced; however, his plea agreement included that two of his sentences are to run consecutively.

In court Monday, Judge Graham Shirley told Johnson that he won't be eating at Ruth's Chris any time soon.

"You're just a thief who was greedy," the judge said.

"I will tell you," he continued, "the request to come out here in a suit instead of the jail garb that most inmates wear speaks volumes to the court about the type of person you are. You're not going to have fine clothes to wear for the next 10 plus years of your life. You're going to be an inmate in prison garb."
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