September 2020

Former Worley & Obetz controller admits creating bogus documents

Trained by predecessor; faces 30 -year sentence

According to LancasterOnline, former Worley & Obetz Controller Judith Avilez admitted in Federal court that she helped former CEO Jeffrey Lyons sustain his $66.7 million bank fraud to hide the now-defunct company’s losses. Avilez has now pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud (after an initial not guilty plea) and will be sentenced on Dec. 29.

Trained for the role in the scheme by her predecessor, Karen Connelly, Avilez faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, $15.2 million in restitution and a $1 million fine, according to reports.

Lyons has admitted that he led a 15-year fraud to persuade Lancaster-based Fulton Bank and other banks to loan the company $66.7 million, while also convincing Fulton that it didn’t need to see audited financial statements from the company. He used those funds to hide Worley & Obetz’s losses, keep the company operational, fund expansions and finance his personal real estate. In July, Lyons was sentenced to 14 years in Federal prison.

Lyons began the fraud more than a decade before Avilez began working at Worley & Obetz, a family-owned energy company based in Manheim, PA that supplied propane, heating oil and gasoline to homes and businesses for 72 years.

Connelly pleaded guilty to bank fraud in November. She will be sentenced on Sept. 24.

For the full story, visit: https://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/former-exec-at-worley-obetz-admits-creating-bogus-documents-for-67m-bank-fraud/article_f2f6b79a-f753-11ea-9ad7-63d3489f7973.html