Federal authorities in Nevada apprehended a man this week accused of embezzlement from the Southeast Georgia Health System of more than $170,000.
Luke J. Wiemers appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nev., for his first hearing in a wire fraud case stemming from a criminal complaint filed against him Tuesday by FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Roberts.
SGHS administrators told Roberts on Oct. 18, 2016, that an internal investigation revealed Wiemers directed 84 percent of online job advertisements to five new online job boards. JobTarget, the vendor for SGHS regarding these kind of announcements, “thought it unusual that no employer other than SGHS utilized those job boards for postings, that each of those job boards sustained negligible web traffic and charged significantly above-average rates for postings, and that Wiemers had chosen to utilize two of the job boards less than a week after they were created,” according to the complaint.
Three days later, SGHS fired Wiemers from his job in its human resources office. On Oct. 24, 2016, SGHS notified Travelers, its insurer, that it lost more than $170,000 because of suspected employee theft.
Records obtained from GoDaddy.com for the FBI showed Wiemers as the person of contact for the job boards, and records from PayPal, U.S. Bank and Stripe showed between January 2015 and October 2016, money paid for postings by SGHS would find its way into Wiemers’ bank account, according to the complaint. These alleged money transfers happened across state lines, which led to the federal wire fraud charge.
The complaint also states Wiemers admitted the crime to Travelers after the insurance company demanded repayment, and paid $2,000 of the total before the filing of the complaint. Roberts also stated Wiemers confessed his actions to the agent Sept. 18.
“Wiemers explained that SGHS’ payments for those job postings were funneled to him through electronic money transfers from Stripe and Paypal,” according to the complaint. “Wiemers also admitted to having used false and fictitious names, which he pulled out of ‘thin air,’ to conceal his association with the phony job boards he had created.”
The Reno court ordered Wiemers free on a personal recognizance bond pending his next pretrial hearing, scheduled for Nov. 1 at the federal courthouse in Brunswick.