A onetime petroleum industry executive is charged with stealing nearly $1 million from his Minneapolis employer.

Gregg W. Johnson, 58, of Apple Valley, was charged in U.S. District Court in St. Paul with wire fraud in connection with a scheme he allegedly perpetuated as chief financial officer of Chemstar Products Co., a 56-year-old manufacturer of products that assist oil drilling.

Johnson was charged by what is called an information, meaning that he intends to plead guilty.

His attorney, Steve Schleicher, said Monday that his client "will fully cooperate with the court throughout these proceedings. Mr. Johnson is grateful for the support of his family and friends during this difficult time."

The U.S. Attorney's Office, as part of its criminal complaint, said it is seeking the forfeitures to the government of all three properties he owns: a $454,000 house in Apple Valley, a $261,000 home in Minneapolis, and a four-bedroom lakeside house in Burnett County, Wis., that went on the market this month for $525,000.

According to the complaint:

From 2014, soon after Chemstar hired Johnson, until July 2020, he forged the company president's signature and issued checks to himself for more than $930,000.

He stole from an account meant solely for paying shareholders or paying taxes on payouts to shareholders. To cover his tracks, Johnson falsified invoices for company expenses.

He used the money to pay bills for credit cards and insurance, and for mortgages and renovations on the three homes.

About four months after the alleged thefts ended, Apple Valley police received a report from Johnson's family that he was missing. Johnson was located safe five days later after being spotted on surveillance video at a gas station in Owatonna, Minn.

Johnson's online biography said he is a 1985 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and received his master's in business administration management in 1999 from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482