ATLANTA — The ex-husband of a former state of Georgia employee recently pleaded guilty to a sophisticated embezzlement scheme in which the two walked away with over 1.3 million, according to prosecutors.
The 40-year-old man was formerly married to a Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency counselor accused of creating fake students with non-existent disabilities and forging educational records to steal the funds.
The two are facing charges for forging medical, education and financial reports, exploiting state resources and taxpayers and keeping funds from vulnerable Georgians working toward their goals, according to a news release.
“Their greedy actions also impact every taxpayer,” Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a news release. “The FBI, alongside our law enforcement partners, will continue to work tirelessly to hold accountable those who steal taxpayer funds.”
According to investigators, the scheming duo conspired to steal money from the agency between May 2016 through November 2020. They claimed educational expenses for around 13 fakes students, using the names of actual friends and relatives. These supposed students suffered from disabilities or illnesses like AIDS, cancer, psychosocial impairments or muscular dystrophy, law enforcement said.
Using photo-editing software, the two also altered authentic college transcripts, financial aid reports and proofs of registration to support their claims for the fake students. The supposed students attended popular in-state institutions like Georgia Tech, Georgia State University and the University of Georgia. The two uploaded the fake documentation into GVRA’s electronic database.
Throughout the scheme, the two prompted over 230 checks to be mailed to the 13 friends and relatives, which were actually directed to post office boxes in the former couple’s names. The two would either deposit the checks into their bank accounts or ask the friends or relatives’, whose names they used, to cash the checks to be funneled back to the former couple, investigators said.
The woman left the GVRA in March 2019 but continued their scheme for more than a year longer. She used the funds to pay for cars, jewelry, high-end guitars and even a down payment on a new home, according to prosecutors.
Since his arrest, the man has pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal information with one count of conspiracy to commit federal program theft. Meantime, the woman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program theft on Sept. 1.