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Former CFO sentenced for embezzling $3 million

Mar 3, 2011 3:05:00 PM - thestate.com
The former chief financial officer of a Columbia-based medical company was sentenced Thursday to 6 1/2 years in a federal prison for embezzling nearly $3 million from his former employers.

Jerry F. Wells also must repay the money he stole and will spend three years on supervised release after serving his time in prison. Wells's sentence is more severe than the one he agreed to in July 2009 when he first pleaded guilty to the embezzlement from UCI Medical Affiliates. But federal authorities discovered that he had gotten another job while awaiting his sentence and had stolen $40,000 from the new employer.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson expressed concern that Wells was receiving just six years in prison in exchange for stealing $2.9 million. But federal sentencing guidelines and a plea agreement worked out between Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Eichelberger and defense attorney Katherine Evatt lead him to uphold the recommended penalty.

"It was not a crime of financial need," Anderson said. "It was a crime of luxury. The conduct in this case is particularly egregious."

After the sentencing hearing, Dr. Michael Stout, chief executive officer of UCI Medical Affiliates, said he and other company executives were glad to have a conclusion to the case.