Former CEO of Wellcity, Inc. Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors
George David George, 61, of Franklin, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in connection with a multimillion dollar investment scheme, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. In a hearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Kevin H. Sharp, George pleaded guilty to securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
“This defendant cheated dozens of investors out of millions of dollars based on lies and deception,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera. “This office will continue to target fraudulent investment scams and to prosecute those who defraud investors for their own personal gain.”
During today’s hearing, George acknowledged being the founder and CEO of WellCity, Inc., a company based in Brentwood, Tenn. that operated a social network devoted to wellness. George admitted that he solicited millions of dollars from WellCity investors by making misrepresentations regarding the revenue and assets of WellCity, misrepresentations regarding collateral to secure investors’ loans, and misrepresentations regarding the status of a supposed initial public offering. George also admitted that he falsely promised investors that their investments were guaranteed and involved no risk. George further acknowledged that he continued to offer supposed shares in WellCity stock even after the Tennessee Securities Division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance issued a Cease & Desist Order prohibiting him from doing so.
George also admitted using funds that had been provided by investors for his personal use, including depositing funds with Gold Strike casino and making massive cash withdrawals.
“The nation's economy is increasingly dependent on the success and integrity of the securities and commodities markets, and financial investors should not have to fear being deceived in an already risk-filled industry,” said A Todd McCall, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “This plea sends the message that the FBI and its partners will diligently investigate criminal activity involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of financial markets.”
"Investment fraud is like a 'house of cards.' The underlying structure will eventually fall apart and leaves many investors in financial ruin," said Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Nashville Field Office. "IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating this type of fraud in an effort to protect the financial well-being of the American public. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring this investigation to a thorough and complete conclusion."
George faces up to 20 years in prison on each fraud count and up to 10 years on the money laundering count. He also faces a criminal fine of up to $5,000,000 and forfeiture of criminal proceeds, and he will be ordered to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution to his victims. George will be sentenced by Chief Judge Sharp on June 10, 2016. His sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.