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Press Release

Federal Hearings in Separate Middle Georgia Fraud Cases

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

MACON, Ga. – Several fraud cases under investigation in the Middle District of Georgia—the first involving family members who illegally wrote millions in checks to themselves from their employer’s operating account and the second involving a woman who attempted to collect more than $3.5 million in undue tax refunds by falsifying documents and making up a business—had hearings in federal court today.

Eva Rebecca Wells, 75, and Billy Lee Wells, Jr., 47, both of Macon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud a financial institution before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal on Jan. 23. Both face a maximum of 30 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $1,000,000 fine. Mr. Wells also pleaded to an additional charge of making and subscribing a false return, which carries a maximum of three years in prison followed by one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine. A sentencing date will be determined by the Court.

Lonnise Janelle Andrews, 45, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $331,758 in restitution to the IRS by U.S. District Marc T. Treadwell on Jan. 23. Andrews previously pleaded 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. Andrews is not eligible for parole.

“These schemes are costly to all involved; our office will seek justice on behalf of those who are victims of fraud, whether it is small businesses or taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “People engaged in fraud are breaking federal law and will be held accountable for these crimes.”

“The hearings today serve as a warning to individuals who commit fraud upon others and the U.S. government that their criminal acts will come with consequences,” said Demetrius Hardeman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “IRS Criminal Investigation special agents and our law enforcement partners will continue investigating and bringing to justice those who participate in illicit schemes to enrich themselves.”

“These fraud scams, although not violent, are not victimless and can be devastating to local business and ruin livelihoods,” said Robert Gibbs, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta’s Macon office. “The FBI is dedicated to working with our partners to hold anyone accountable who would steal from hard working and honest individuals, rather than put in the work themselves.”

According to court documents in the Wells case, Eva Wells was the Office Manager for Mid-Georgia Sales and was responsible for its finances, including issuing weekly payroll and making other payments on behalf of the business. Her son, Billy Lee Wells, Jr., was also employed at Mid-Georgia Sales, working in IT and sales. In Dec. 2008, Eva Wells began writing unauthorized checks to herself and her son from the company’s general operating fund, as opposed to the account used for payroll. When the theft was discovered, a full accounting was conducted. Between Dec. 31, 2008, and May 10, 2019, Eva Wells wrote a total of $3,404,772.22 in unauthorized checks to Billy Lee Wells, Jr. which were either cashed or deposited in his bank account. In addition to the checks made to Billy Lee Wells, Jr., Eva Wells also wrote unauthorized checks to herself which she cashed or deposited into her bank account.

For information about the Andrews case, please visit

The Wells case was investigated by FBI, IRS and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. The Andrews case was investigated by IRS.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard is prosecuting both cases for the Government.

Updated January 24, 2024

Financial Fraud