Former Houston city treasurer indicted for embezzling over $1M

FastCast digital headlines for Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 5:12 AM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 4:34 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A former treasurer for the City of Houston was indicted March 21 on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

According to a press release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office District of Alaska, Willow resident Jess George Adams embezzled more than $1.16 million from the City of Houston and from an equipment company in Wasilla from 2015 to 2022.

Adams took over as Houston’s treasurer in 2015, but resigned from the position in November 2018, a month after being placed on administrative leave.

During that time, Adams allegedly used his position to electronically transfer money for the city to a personal bank account, using fictitious entries in accounting software used by the city to make it appear the transfers were legitimate.

After leaving his job with the city, the department said Adams took a job with a Wasilla-based equipment company, where he was accused of doing the same thing.

The department said Adams made several wire transfers of over $10,000 each from his personal bank account to other accounts in an embezzlement scheme, then lied about the transfers in tax returns he filed from 2016 to 2021.

Adams was a former seasonal tax return preparer, according to the indictment listed in the release, and worked for a national tax advisory company.

If convicted, Adams could potentially face up to 20 years in jail for each wire fraud charge, 10 years for each money laundering count, and five years for each tax evasion count.

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

Alaska State Troopers and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit teamed up to track the case.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect the press release detailing the charges for Adams was sent from U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska.