An insurance company is suing a couple who were found guilty of stealing more than $2.4 million worth of skis, snowboards, and other goods from Aspen Skiing Co. while working for the company. The insurance company is looking to collect just over $5.2-million, reports the Aspen Times.
Former Aspen Skiing Co. executive, Aspen city councilman, and mayoral candidate Derek Johnson was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2020 for his part in stealing and reselling more than 13,000 pairs of skis, earning him around $3 million over fifteen years. His wife, Kerri Johnson, was also sentenced and received ninety days in jail and five years of probation.
National Union Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh’s civil complaint claims the pair should be held responsible for the seven-figure sum they paid to Henry Crown and Co. and its subsidiary Skico. The company paid out the figure to Aspen Skiing Co. and its parent company for the financial losses incurred due to the Johnsons’ multi-year scam.
Derek Johnson, 51, and his wife, Kerri Johnson, 48, admitted in Pitkin County District Court in 2019 to stealing between $100,000 and $1 million from Skico between June 2013 and January 2019. Derek was facing up to 12-years in jail. He was fired by Skico in the wake of the theft allegations and worked as a delivery driver for an Aspen restaurant to support his wife and family. Before this latest lawsuit, he only had to pay back $250,000.
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Johnson helped found the D&E Snowboard Shop and sold it to Skico in 2001 when he was kept on as managing director of its retail-rental division. Skico fired Johnson in December 2018, calling the situation “tragic” and “very painful and personal,” though company officials declined to comment further. Johnson, at the time, said his firing was “a private employment matter” and refused to comment further.
An anonymous tip to Skico’s human resources department in November 2018 led to police intervention, and spreadsheets found on Johnson’s computer at his home showed that between 2010 and 2018, he and his wife listed $2.15 million in total sales from the eBay account called “sportandski. “ Police also found more than $224,000 worth of skis and snowboards in a storage unit rented by the Johnsons, gear that was returned to Skico officials. Finally, the icing on the cake, the couple also billed Skico nearly $42,000 since November 2015 for ski boxes they used to send the allegedly stolen Skico skis to their eBay customers.
In a statement released at the time, Skico officials said:
“While Derek Johnson’s public admission of responsibility for these serious crimes is an important first step in finding closure for Aspen Skiing Company, that process will take significant time,” according to the statement. “These crimes impacted a number of people, caused them emotional trauma that continues to this day, damaged trust and had financial impacts on individuals and on the company.”