Local businessman arrested in undercover Internet sex sting - | WBTV Charlotte

Local businessman arrested in undercover Internet sex sting

A local man arrested in an undercover Internet sex sting while on a business trip is facing serious charges.

Police in Florida arrested Richard Dennis Johnson, of Mooresville during "Operation Cardea" near Orlando, FL.

Johnson was one of 50 men, lured to a home and promised sexual encounters with underage victims.

He's charged with intending to engage in sexual activity with a minor.

Police say undercover officers pretending to be minors chatted online and by email with Johnson and dozens of other men.

Theresa Payton, a cyber security expert, says the arrest should be a reminder to every parent about the danger of the online world.

"You feel like you're really getting to know that person and you don't realize somebody really bad, really evil could be hiding behind the face of a really nice looking and pleasant person," she said.

According to police, Johnson traveled to Florida on a business trip intending to go to that home to meet a child.

That's why Payton says parents have to know what their children are doing online at all time.

"Just like you would not let your kids sleep over someone's house where you haven't met the kid and you haven't met the parent, it's the same thing in the online world," she said. "You should know everybody that they're connected to. If you don't, she says you need to ask questions."

Payton also suggests only allowing Internet use to happen in common areas of your home.

"You've gotta have this digital free zone where some of the more private spaces of the house are off limits for digital free devices," she cautioned.

Payton also told WBTV parents should know the password for every email and social media account their child has.

WBTV contacted Lowe's about Richard Johnson.

The company confirmed he is an employee, but would not comment on the case. Lowe's told us Johnson works in Loss Prevention. He's based in Mooresville, but does not deal with customers.

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