A former worker at a company in the Lake Forest area was given a four-year prison sentence for embezzling approximately $1 million over 10 years. Oak Lawn resident George R. Avery, 55, was charged with two counts of theft between $500,000 and $1 million in July 2018. Each count is a Class 1 felony.
A business filed a report with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in July of 2018, according to Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli, as reported by Lake and McHenry County Scanner. An employee at the company, which has its headquarters in unincorporated Lake Forest, has allegedly stolen about $1 million. According to Covelli, the thefts began in 2005 and lasted almost a decade.
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According to the investigation, Avery had been making purchases for HVAC equipment typically seen in private residences with a work credit card. According to Covelli, he would resell the HVAC products to third parties at a discount. More than 600 invoices were discovered to be for what looked to be unnecessary equipment purchases during an internal audit.
According to Covelli, investigators from the sheriff’s office reviewed the financial data and conducted independent interviews after the internal audit and investigation were completed. Detectives with the sheriff’s office eventually got an arrest warrant for Avery, and he was hauled into custody a few days later.
According to the case files, Avery reached a plea agreement with the Lake County District Attorney’s Office. On January 19, he entered a plea of guilty to a Class 1 felony theft charge between $500,000 and $1,000,000. The prosecution dropped the second count against him.
The plea agreement was accepted by Lake County Judge James Booras, who then sentenced Avery to four years in an Illinois prison. According to official records, Avery was taken to the Stateville Correctional Facility. The estimated date of his release from prison has not been determined.