An attorney known throughout Northern California for suing under the Americans with Disabilities Act is pleading guilty to filing false tax returns.
Scott Norris Johnson is well-known to businesses in Sacramento and beyond as he would file federal lawsuits for violations of the ADA on a regular basis. Johnson began his career working for the Internal Revenue Service as a lawyer.
But starting in 2003, he began filing ADA lawsuits against businesses for violating construction standards.
As of 2020, he had filed approximately 4,000 suits, according to documents filed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The majority of those lawsuits were settled.
Under the ADA, someone suing for violations, particularly if the suit is settled, gets at least a portion of that settlement.
Yet according to the plea agreement, from 2012 through 2014, Johnson did not declare some of that income to the IRS.
Johnson got settlements in those years anywhere from $93,000 to more than $1 million.
As such, he owed more than $250,000 to the federal government.
Johnson will serve 18 months in home confinement and a year of supervised release, according to the agreement.