Former City Treasurer Indicted for Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Tax Evasion

Former City Treasurer Indicted for Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Tax Evasion

ANCHORAGE – A former city treasurer was arrested this week after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.

The indictment charges that from 2015 to 2022, Jess George Adams of Willow embezzled more than $1.16 million from the City of Houston in Alaska and from a Wasilla-based equipment company.

The indictment alleges that from 2015 through 2018, Adams was the Treasurer for the City of Houston, entrusted with bookkeeping responsibilities and administrative access to the City’s accounting records and software. Adams allegedly used this access to direct electronic transfers of funds from the City’s bank account to his personal account, maintained by Adams to hide the embezzled funds. It is further alleged that Adams used fictitious entries in the City’s accounting software to make it appear as though these payments were made for legitimate business expenses.

In October 2018, the City of Houston allegedly placed Adams on administrative leave, and he resigned his position in November 2018. A year later, Adams allegedly was employed as a bookkeeper by an equipment company, where he exercised control over the company’s accounting records and software. The indictment charges that, using this access, Adams directed electronic transfers of funds from the company’s bank account to his other personal accounts at multiple banks, maintained by Adams to hide the embezzled funds. To conceal his activity, Adams allegedly used fictitious entries in the company’s accounting software to make it appear as though these funds were transferred for the payment of legitimate business expenses.

Adams allegedly laundered the embezzled money he obtained from the equipment company by making several wire transfers from his personal bank account to other accounts, each at a value greater than $10,000.

The indictment further charges that in another attempt to conceal his embezzlement and evade the assessment of income taxes, Adams filed false individual income tax returns for tax years 2016 through 2021, which did not disclose the additional income he diverted to himself.  According to the indictment, Adams was a former seasonal tax return preparer for a national tax advisory company.

Adams is scheduled to make his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kyle F. Reardon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, 10 years in prison for each money laundering count, 5 years in prison for each tax evasion count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case with substantial assistance from the Alaska State Troopers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Tran for the District of Alaska and Trial Attorney Boris Bourget of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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usao/ak/23-024

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