Three plead guilty in separate Middle Georgia fraud cases

MACON, Ga. (WRBL) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia announced that two fraud cases are currently under investigation with the first involving family members who wrote millions in checks to themselves from their employer’s account to another case involving a woman who attempted to get over $3.5 million in undue tax refunds through falsifying documents.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said 75-year-old Eva Rebecca Wells and 47-year-old Billy Lee Wells Jr., both from Macon pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud a financial institution on Tuesday. Both face up to 30 years in prison along with at least five years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine. Wells also pled guilty to an additional charge of making and subscribing a false return, which carries a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and $100,000 fine.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also said that 45-year-old Lonnie Janelle Andrews, from Macon, received a 51-month prison term along with three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $331,758 in restitution to the IRS on Tuesday. Andrews previously pled guilty to one count of making and subscribing a false return, one count of false claim for a tax credit and one count of false claim for a refund on Sept. 11, 2023.

Based on court records in the Wells’ case, Eva Wells was the office manager for Middle Georgia Sale and was tasked with overseeing the company’s finances, including issuing weekly payroll and making other payments for the business. Her son, Wells Jr., was also employed with the same company, working in IT and sales. In December 2008, Eva Wells started writing unauthorized checks to herself and her son from the business’ general operating fund instead from the account used for payroll.

When the theft was finally discovered, a full accounting audit was conducted which revealed that from Dec. 31, 2008, and May 10, 2019, Eva Wells wrote a total of $3,404,772.22 unauthorized checks to Wells Jr. which was either cashed or deposited into his bank account.

The FBI, IRS and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office investigated the Wells’ case. The IRS investigated Andrew’s case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard is prosecuting both cases for the government.

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