© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Crime and Courts

Georgia Man Sentenced For Cybercrime That Cost Sedgwick County $566K

flickr Creative Commons

A man from Georgia was sentenced on Thursday to more than two years in prison for an email scheme that stole about $566,000 dollars from Sedgwick County.

George James pleaded guilty to wire fraud but denied that the scheme was his idea.

Sedgwick County received an email in October 2016 asking for a bank account change for electronic payments for a Wichita construction company.

The county issued the payment to what it thought was Cornejo and Sons’ new account, but the money instead was deposited into James’ bank account.

James said he spent some of the money and transferred the rest to bank accounts in China and Germany as planned in the fraud scheme.

The county’s Finance Department reported the theft after discovering Cornejo didn’t request the account change and never received the payment. The county intended to pay the company for its work on a road project.

Sedgwick County's timeline of events:

  • Sept. 23, 2016: Sedgwick County receives a request to change banking information for Cornejo & Sons, LLC. It is completed using an old ACH form, purportedly signed by Ronald Cornejo, and sent via email to Sedgwick County Finance.
  • Sept. 30, 2016: Sedgwick County Finance receives request for payment for Public Works Project.
  • Oct. 6, 2016: Payment issued via ACH to new bank account number.
  • Oct. 7, 2016: Payment received in new account.
  • Oct. 25, 2016: Sedgwick County Accounts Payable receives inquiry from Cornejo as to status of payment.
  • Oct. 25, 2016: Finance Department filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office noting that the payment had not reached the intended recipient.
  • Oct. 26, 2016: Cornejo paid by check for the amount lost in the fraudulent transaction.
  • Jan. 23, 2017: George James arrested.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.