Ex-police commander accused of stealing from Social Security

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A former Chicago police commander who was praised for reducing crime on the South Side is facing a charge that he stole $360,000 in Social Security funds over a period of 23 years.

Kenneth Johnson, 54, was charged with stealing about $363,064 in funds from June 1994 to November 2017, according to the one-page criminal complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

The charges do not detail how Johnson allegedly stole Social Security money, but sources said he was taking benefit payments meant for his mother, who is dead. Johnson retired from the department in August after 32 years.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he learned of the charge Wednesday, and that he was shocked and disappointed.

“I knew Commander Johnson well from his efforts to reduce violence in Englewood,” Johnson said in a statement. “But if proven, these allegations erode the public’s trust and tarnish his service to Chicago.”

Police sources said the department was not aware of the alleged offenses, and that the department never investigated Johnson over the issue.

Johnson was praised last year for overseeing declining violence in the Englewood District on the South Side. He joined the Police Department in 1986.