WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Georgia man pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday stemming from an e-mail scheme that cost Sedgwick County more than $566,000.
George S. James, 49, of Brookhaven, Georgia pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
James admitted that on October 7, 2016, Sedgwick County sent approximately $566,088 to his bank account at a Wells Fargo bank in Georgia. James then transferred part of the money to a bank account in Shanghai, China, and part of the money to an account at Deutsche Bank in Bremen, Germany.
James also spent some of the money.
In his plea, James denied that the fraud scheme was his idea. He said he was contacted by a person in September of 2016. The person James referred to is identified in court records as A.H., who asked to deposit some money into James’ account at Wells Fargo. James said he knew A.H. was engaged in fraud, but James denied knowing that Sedgwick County was the victim.
James said A.H., or someone working with A.H., sent an email to Sedgwick County on September 23, 2016 purporting to be from Cornejo and Sons, LLC, and requesting the county send future payments to a new account number at Wells Fargo. The county sent $566,088 to James’ account and later learned that Cornejo did not request the change of account and did not receive the payment.
James’ sentencing is set for September 21. He faces a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.