On February 24, 2013, former Medical College of Georgia (now Georgia Regents University) employee Christin Lynn Wright surrendered herself at the Tattnall County Jail. She pleaded guilty on February 13, 2013, in Tattnall County Superior Court to one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)) and one count of Theft by Taking (O.C.G.A. § 16-8-2 & § 16-8-12(a)(3)) for her role in a scheme to steal money from the State. Judge Charles P. Rose, Jr. sentenced Christin Lynn Wright under the First Offender Act to one year in prison, followed by four years probation and restitution in the amount of $10,296.93.
Christin Lynn Wright, was an hourly employee of the Medical College of Georgia and contracted to work as an administrative assistant at the Georgia State Prison (GSP) in Reidsville. Her mother, Debbie Lynn Wright, was a salaried employee of the Georgia Department of Corrections, working as a senior clerk at the Georgia State Prison (GSP) in Reidsville. As senior clerk, Debbie Lynn Wright was also the designated timekeeper responsible for making manual entries into TimeWare for all hourly employees. Debbie Lynn Wright manually entered fraudulent data into TimeWare that resulted Christin Lynn Wright being paid for overtime hours that she did not work.
The stolen money was either directly deposited by the State of Georgia into various bank accounts of Christin Lynn Wright or paid by the State via checks cashed or deposited by Christin Lynn Wright. Christin Lynn Wright would then return the money to Debbie Lynn Wright, or would pay bills on her behalf, and then would retain the balance for her own use.
Debbie Lynn Wright pleaded guilty on November 1, 2012, to one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)). She was sentenced under the First Offender Act to ten years to serve two in prison and restitution in the amount of $27,500.00. Charges are pending against co-defendant Paul Sylvester Thornhill.
All three former employees were initially investigated at the request of the warden of the facility following a whistleblower complaint in December 2009. Their employment was terminated within two weeks of the allegations having first surfaced.
Assistant Attorney Shepard Orlow is prosecuting the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Special Agent James O’Sullivan of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Will Barnes and Eddie Yates of the Georgia Health Sciences University.