Prosecutors: 8 people indicted in $467K bank fraud case

Published 5:35 am Friday, August 20, 2021

Eight people, including a former deputy clerk for a Georgia county court, have been indicted on various charges including bank and wire fraud, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

A federal grand jury indicted the group on Aug. 11. The document was unsealed Wednesday.

It charges Willie Demps, 63, of Phenix City, Alabama, with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 35 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property.

Demps worked for the Muscogee County clerk’s office in neighboring Georgia for about 30 years where he supervised monetary deposits received by the clerk’s office. He is accused of making checks from the clerk’s office payable to various codefendants in the case. The codefendants would then cash the checks and return the money to Demps, who allegedly would give the participants in the scheme a portion of the money.

It is alleged that from January 2019 to November 2019, Demps and his co-defendants cashed at least $467,331 in checks stolen from the Muscogee County Clerk’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said. That money came from fines collected for felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses, forfeitures resulting from criminal activities, and certain monies received from condemnation accounts.

If convicted, Demps faces up to 30 years on the conspiracy charge, up to 20 years on each of the wire fraud charges and up to 10 years on each of the interstate transportation charges. He is scheduled to appear Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles in Columbus.

Also indicted were four residents of Columbus, another from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and two others from Smiths Station, Alabama.

It was not known if Demps had an attorney who could comment on the charges.