Former Controller of Lancaster County Oil & Gas Company, Judith Avilez Sentenced to Three Years for Participating in $65 Million Bank Fraud
PHILADELPHIA (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Judith Avilez, 60, of Elizabethtown, PA, was sentenced to three years in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $15 million in restitution by Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl for participating in a massive bank fraud scheme over many years.
In September 2020, Avilez, the former Controller of Worley & Obetz, pleaded guilty to her role in a scheme that defrauded Fulton Bank of over $65 million. Avilez admitted that from 2016 through May 2018, she helped Worley & Obetz’s CEO, Jeffrey Lyons, defraud Fulton Bank by creating fraudulent financial statements that grossly inflated accounts receivable for Worley & Obetz’s largest customer, Giant Food. Worley & Obetz was an oil and gas company in Manheim, PA, that provided home heating oil, gasoline, diesel, and propane to its customers.
Lyons initiated the fraud shortly after he became CEO in 1999. In order to make Worley & Obetz appear more profitable and himself appear successful as the CEO, Lyons asked the previous Worley & Obetz Controller, Karen Connelly, to falsify the company’s financial statements to make it appear to have millions more in revenue and accounts receivable than it did.