VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The owner of a Virginia Beach bakery and her husband have pleaded guilty to federal charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Eastern District of Virginia.
Cheron Johnson, 31, and her husband, Vernon Norvell, 42, were charged with money laundering back in January. Norvell was also charged with distributing cocaine.
Both Johnson and Norvell have entered guilty pleas for their respective charges. Prosecutors say the two own G’s Cake Shop on Auburn Drive.
An investigation revealed that one confidential source regularly purchased ounce quantities of cocaine for $1,350 to $1,500 over the course of several years. Another source purchased in excess of five kilograms, often paying $46,000 per kilogram.
At times, Norvell was accepting between $60,000 and $70,000 a week for cocaine.
According to court documents, Norvell and Johnson used the proceeds of his cocaine distribution to purchase a home in the Crystal Lake neighborhood of Portsmouth, several automobiles, expensive clothing and other material items.
The real estate purchase was one way the couple concealed the cocaine proceeds. While the home appraised for $315,000, they purchased it for $160,000, yet they made over $80,000 in payments before and after the closing, $14,000 of which was in cash.
In addition to the drug and money laundering crimes and according to court documents, from 2012 to 2014, Norvell and Johnson reported a combined adjusted gross income of $157,916, yet during that same period they deposited $926,854, including $338,860 in cash, into nearly a dozen bank accounts, including one off shore account located in Curaҫao.
From January 2011 through August 2015 the couple deposited $468,500 in cash into their accounts.
Both Norvell and Johnson will be sentenced on June 22.