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Press Release

Alabama Woman Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

COLUMBUS: United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Charles E.  Peeler, announces that a guilty plea was entered on July 3, 2018, in front of United States District Judge Clay D. Land by 64 year old Darlene Corbett of Phenix City, Alabama, to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. 

Beginning on April 30, 2015, and continuing to September 21, 2016, Darlene Corbett embezzled over $950,000 from her employer while working as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of The Grand Reserve Columbus, an entity owned by her stepson.   Of this amount, it was discovered that over $53,000 in unauthorized checks and almost $700,000 in unauthorized wire transfers went directly to a third party.   These disbursements were sometimes disguised as payments for work performed for the third party though this person had no affiliation with the Grand Reserve Columbus.

Initially, Ms. Corbett maintained that the transactions were simply repayments of cash loans that the third party had given to Ms. Corbett to help finance construction projects of The Grand Reserve Columbus.  Both Ms. Corbett and the third party maintained that the source of these loans were casino winnings of the third party.  

In her signed, written plea agreement filed with the court, Ms. Corbett admitted that this story was not true and she had been induced to steal from her employer by the third party, who promised a future financial windfall to Ms. Corbett stemming from a pending medical malpractice settlement, a pending estate settlement, and other schemes.   She also admitted to giving the third party a considerable amount of her personal savings during the pendency of the conspiracy. 

Darlene Corbett is facing up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years of supervised release.   She is also jointly and severally liable for $956,918.50 in restitution. 

“One of the missions of the United States Attorney’s Office is to bring to justice those who choose to defraud the citizens of the Middle District of Georgia.  I want to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their fine work on this matter,” said United States Attorney Peeler.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for October 30, 2018 at 9:30 am.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Crawford Seals is prosecuting the case for the Government.

Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.

Updated July 5, 2018

Financial Fraud