Worley & Obetz ex-CEO and ex-Controller Charged in $1 Million Scam to Pay Personal Debt
The former CEO and controller of a Manheim-based energy business are charged with years-long misuses of company funds covering the CEO’s personal credit debt.
Northern Lancaster County Regional police on Monday charged Jeffrey B. Lyons, former CEO of Worley & Obetz, and Karen L. Connelly, longtime controller for the company until her retirement in 2016.
Police determined Worley & Obetz funds covered over $1 million in Lyons’ credit card debt, with Connelly authorizing most of the payments.
Connelly made mention of a “package deal” that involved payment of Lyons’ credit debt; owners Seth and Robert Obetz said there was no such arrangement made to have company funds pay for Lyons’ credit debt.
The payments covered: trips and plane fare, online shopping purchases, gym memberships, home projects, spa services, dining costs, college costs for a relative, and other costs.
Lyons, 57, was arrested Monday morning at his Manheim Township home. He is charged with six felonies: five variations of theft and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, a first-degree felony.
Connelly, 64, was arrested Monday morning. She is charged with two felonies: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and conspiracy to commit theft.
They were to be arraigned Monday afternoon.
Police determined Connelly had an inflated salary, as authorized by Lyons. Also, even after her retirement, her gas and home heating was paid by the company.
Also, Connelly continued to have access to the company accounting system after retirement, using a company laptop computer at home to gain access.
This investigation is ongoing and involves other agencies.
Police were first contacted in May 2018 and met with a co-owner and the current controller.
Police learned of the misuse of funds, which were recorded in company paperwork as “cost of goods,” Lyons and Connelly.
The company CEO and controller were the only individuals with such access to company funds, meaning the conspiracy did not have to go beyond Lyons and Connelly.
Police identified a number of credit card accounts linked to Lyons and paid by company funds. In all, investigators documented $1.015 million in company funds that went to the card accounts.
The largest payments ($811,371 in total) were made since 2010 on a Chase Sapphire account.
Lyons and Connelly are presumed innocent.
Detective Theresa Stauffer filed charges, which were approved by First Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen.
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