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Press Release

Former Employee of Metro Real Estate Company to Serve 34 Months in Prison for Embezzlement and Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma
Also Ordered to Pay $301,192.72 in Restitution

Oklahoma City, OklahomaJAMES LEE WARD, JR., of Luther, was sentenced today to 34 months in federal prison for making a forged security and filing a false tax return in connection with his embezzlement of more than $250,000 from a metro real estate company, announced Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

 

Ward is a former Title Closing Coordinator at Paradigm AdvantEdge, LLC ("Paradigm"), a real estate company in Oklahoma City. According to the Information filed in the case, Ward forged a $6,900 check from Paradigm payable to a bogus business entity under his control, made to look like a legitimate payee in Paradigm’s real estate transactions. At his plea hearing on March 16, 2017, Ward admitted that he forged the signature of a Paradigm owner and issued the $6,900 check to himself without the approval of Paradigm. In a plea agreement, Ward agreed that the total loss from his embezzlement was $250,415.00. The Information also alleged that Ward submitted a false federal income tax return for 2014 by failing to report substantial income from the embezzlement. At his plea hearing, Ward admitted that he omitted approximately $140,000 of embezzled income from Paradigm on his 2014 return.

 

United States District Judge Joe Heaton sentenced Ward to 34 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Ward was ordered to pay restitution to Paradigm and its insurers in the total amount of $250,415.00. He was also ordered to pay $50,777.72 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for federal income tax due from his unreported embezzlement income. Ward must report to federal prison on October 6, 2017.

 

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris M. Stephens prosecuted the case.

 

Updated September 7, 2017

Topic
Tax