Cameron Edward Johnson
I’ve setup a GoFundMe account for the legal fees I anticipate. If it goes that far and even if I do win, I likely won’t see much in return. I just want to keep him from getting away. Too many people like him get away with this bullshit. Below is the narrative I used in the GoFundMe.com campaign.
As much as it sucks having him enter my life, it can always be worse. My friend, Don, is a military retiree like myself and a real estate investor with a sizable portfolio for an active-duty service member. Cameron owes me around $11K in principal, but Don shared a couple of stories.
He had a tenant who owed (and still owes) him $14K in missed rent plus $45K in damage to the property, or about $59K total. And another tenant who resulted in a loss of $68K total. So, my story’s not that bad in comparison. Someone always has it worse. Yet, we must hold every single one of these crooks accountable for the harm they cause. Otherwise, we encourage them to keep harming others.
Hold him accountable for his betrayal and deceit
Cameron and I first met around October 2019, when I realized I’d soon be retiring from the military. We met at a local real estate investor meetup. Cameron is young, age 27 as of this year. Since 2019, he has pursued digital marketing projects and real estate. We didn’t interact much from 2019 through the summer of 2021, and we remained connected via social media, where I noticed the excellent work he seemed to be doing.
During the summer of 2021, I retired from the military. I bought a house where I very briefly lived and had intended to until I met Cameron and his family. I felt impressed that he had succeeded enough as a real estate wholesaler to motivate his family to relocate from California to North Carolina to help him. (About that property, within nine months, he terminated his lease early. He further abandoned his obligations on the lease to return it to a re-rentable condition, but that’s another story.)
In September 2021, I introduced him to this tech project, Helium, that I found rising in popularity and that hadn’t reached Fayetteville, NC, just yet. Helium is a sort-of decentralization of internet connectivity. Participants deploy hotspots (small “modems” or radios) around a town, and those hotspots also serve as “miners” of a digital coin called HNT (Helium Network Token) as an incentive to help grow the network. It’s a Google-backed project. Around then, there were only about four (4) hotspots in Fayetteville, NC.
The promissory note and the broken promise
Cameron became fascinated with the project. At one point, he told me, “I think this could be my shot at becoming a billionaire.” He asked for my level of participation, and I said that I’d prefer to back him financially but not as an operator within the project. Cameron had the motivation, seeming track record of success, and tech-savvy that I lacked for this project.
So, I paid $15,050.00 to acquire seven (7) hotspots. I was the capital partner. And although I had larger social circles through my hobbies, Cameron seemed to have a larger business circle here in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Within a couple of months, we deployed five of the hotspots. Deployment requires that these hotspots be far apart and that we interact with neighboring residents or tenants to allow us into their homes and plug in. They were indoor devices, and this presented a new problem.
How do we return for maintenance without intruding on our neighbors? Cameron said he found a manufacturer to develop casings to house the hotspots outside of a building. The enclosures would further provide backup solar power. For seven (7) units, he needed $20,000.00. Up to this point, he made good on all of his promises.
But I admit it, I fucked up. I wrote an unsecured promissory to him for $20K, 10% interest, 12-month term, beginning January 2022 and ending December 2022. The payment was $1,758.32/month. We agreed to payments by the 11th of the month. I paid to acquire the devices, and I didn’t have the additional $20K to contribute.
I had recently retired, and coincidentally my dad had, too. My dad was looking for an investment opportunity, and I mistakenly vouched for Cameron. So, my dad sent me the $20K, and I sent Cameron the $20K on Monday, December 13, 2021. My dad doesn’t know about this because I’m still too ashamed to admit it. I’m a disabled veteran with children to support, and I’ve continued to pay the $1,758.32/month back to my father as if everything were okay. Cameron knows this.
I trusted him. He was a fellow veteran who seemed to have found success in civilian life shortly after finishing service. I vouched for him to my father.
Betrayal, deception, evasion, and fraud
Cameron paid from January 2022 through May 2022. In June 2022, he stopped paying, skipped town, left no forwarding address, and “ghosted.” I’ve sought legal counsel and have been able to find his forwarding address. He still owes seven (7) payments of $1,758.32/month or a payoff amount of $11,908.00.
He routinely made self-aggrandizing comments about his integrity, ethics, and devotion to his religion and wife. I’ve found that the louder someone is about being a certain way, the more the opposite is the case. Perhaps he didn’t intend misconduct initially but later got overwhelmed.
But he intends misconduct now by skipping town and ghosting his obligations and the people who trusted him. I was, and still am, open to negotiation.
I’ve also come to embrace how anyone does anything (esp. the small things), in many ways, represents how he does everything (esp. the bigger things). Back in September 2021, as he moved into the home I leased to him, he asked to borrow lawn equipment. He also asked to borrow books from my home library. In April 2022, I had to ask back for those belongings. He finally returned them in May 2022, nine months later.
I called him out for it, and he said it wasn’t his fault. It’s just who he is and that he has property from other people, waiting months to return. I asked a previous employer about him. That employer said, “We haven’t spoken since 2019. We didn’t part on great terms.” Had I known.
The fraud is in his reliability and trustworthiness. He promised emphatically that he would make good on this debt. Instead, he skipped town.
A podcast interview of him
Cameron, “I cannot stand when someone is being taken advantage of because I would not want to be in that situation” (14:16). Sure, this is what Mr. Integrity here would like you to believe. His history demonstrates otherwise.
Cameron, “When I was in the Army, I always picked up random pieces of trash around base” (51:59). “I just take it that step further and pick it up. Because you never know who’s watching. And if you’re always leading with the correct kind of mentality that you want the world to have, like picking up a small piece of trash, as silly as that sounds, you can’t believe the amount of rewards” (52:37). Again, he’s more concerned with looking good than actually being a good person.
This podcast took place in November 2021. I believe that here he’s again self-touting something he’d like the rest of the world to believe about him that just isn’t so. I have this personal quirk of exhausting the battery on my leaf blower by cleaning up the neighborhood until the battery dies. It’s fun to do, and it buys me time to finish listening to an educational piece of audio.
Once, before Cameron’s podcast, I went out of my way to clean up broken glass (not with the leaf blower, of course) at a vacant neighbor’s house. Cameron happened to drive and stop at the open field right beside to let his dogs play. He asked what I was doing. I said, “Plenty of people walk their pets here, and I’d hate to see another person or pet unknowingly step on this broken glass. Right now, no one lives at this house to clean it up.”
Cameron, “It’s always your fault. Why you’re not where you want to be is your fault? … Extreme ownership” (54:19), a reference to a popular veteran and entrepreneur. Let’s hold him to that.
Other names or entities
- One Nine Zeros LLC (inc. 11/22/21), Akron, Ohio
- Cameron Buys Homes LLC (inc. 1/19/21), Fayetteville, North Carolina
- REI Connection LLC (inc. 12/3/19), Fayetteville, North Carolina
- Tri Home Investments LLC (dissolved 7/9/19), Fayetteville, North Carolina