SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Ford’s Real Hamburgers.
A Best Western Hotel.
A hair salon in Manteca.
Just a few of those sued by Scott Johnson.
He’s a disabled man who makes a living off of suing businesses, often for minor violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, known as ADA.
Federal court records reveal Johnson personally sued more than 3000 business in Northern California, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars a year.
“Some of them went out of business and other had to pay and pay a lot in order to stay afloat,” says Janice Ward.
She is among those who had to pay Johnson for what she believes was a frivolous lawsuit, and takes some satisfaction in learning he’s not been indicted on tax fraud.
“We have a lot of handicap people who come in never had a problem before,” notes Ward.
The federal incitement alleges his business reported gross earnings of more than $430,000 in just three years, in addition to more than $135,000 in personal income from the lawsuits.
But, according to the IRS, he made much more than he reported. And he faces up to nine years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
Johnson’s attorney tells us in a statement “He paid taxes and we are prepared to dispute the government calculations.”
Janice says she doesn’t believe he deserved any money at all.
“He wasn’t trying to take care of handicap people it didn’t go to any of that,” she says. “He got a lot of money and did absolutely no work other than getting a lot of money from a lot of people and put a lot of people out of business.”
CBS13 has also confirmed that the federal government reached out to the owner of Squeeze Burger to find out if Johnson ever got money from them.
Squeeze Burger was famously sued by a different attorney, not Johnson, and was forced to move locations.
Interestingly, the owner of Squeeze Burger tells us Johnson did eat there often, but never sued.