Feds charge 3 former Worley & Obetz executives with bank fraud

LANCASTER COUNTY -- Three former executives of Worley & Obetz have been charged with bank fraud by federal authorities, court documents show.

On Tuesday, The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania  announced  bank fraud charges against the company’s former CEO,  Jeffery Lyons, along with two former controllers,  Karen Connelly and Judith Avilez.

In the charges, it is alleged that Lyons, Connelly, and Avilez inflated the company's revenue on its financial statements over a 15-year span between 2003 and May 15, 2018.

Court documents show  between 2003 and 2018 the three executives were involved in a nearly $60 million scheme inflating Worley & Obetz's revenue on its financial statements for Fulton Bank.

An investigation revealed Lyons revised figures to reflect false profits or losses for each department

Connelly then allegedly entered those inflated numbers into accounts receivable.

Officials say Avilez created additional entries to make financial statements appear genuine.

Fulton Bank used the financial statements it believed to be authentic to lend Worley & Obetz over $60 million.

According to The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, Lyons used company funds for trips and plane fares, online shopping purchases, and other personal debts.

The scheme continued six months after Connelly retired in December 2015.

Court documents Lyons asked Connelly to teach Avilez how to continue the fraud, which she knowingly did.

“The alleged fraud here is stunning in scope and duration,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “As alleged, the defendants obtained tens of millions of dollars from bank lenders to benefit their business, when their jobs as CEO and Controller required them to act with fiduciary integrity. My Office will continue to work aggressively with our law enforcement partners to protect innocent individuals and businesses from being victimized by financial fraud.”

The company went out of business last year.

We reached out to Lyons defense attorney for comment, however we did not hear back.

Lyons is also charged with tax evasion for not reporting over $650,000 in income received from Worley & Obetz back in 2013.

Karen Connelly and Judith Avilez face up to 30 years in prison and one million dollars in fines.

Lyons faces up to 35 years in prison and more than $1,200  in fines.

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