Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker announced this morning that former University of Georgia accountant R. Wayne Nobles entered a plea of guilty today to 13 counts of theft by taking and one count of criminal attempt. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment to be followed by 15 years probation.
Nobles worked in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in the 1980s and 1990s. Between 1992 and 1998 he operated an elaborate postage stamp scheme, stealing over $319,000.00 from the university. Nobles would request that checks be issued by UGA to the United States Postmaster, ostensibly for deposit into one of the university’s many postal accounts at the post office. Instead, Nobles had the postmaster issue him paper stamps, sometimes in amounts as much as $40,000.00. Six months after leaving UGA, Nobles’ scheme was discovered.
In March 2000, GBI investigators went to Texas, where Nobles was residing, to obtain a search warrant for Nobles' home. During the search investigators found over $33,000.00 in stamps that Nobles had not yet disposed of. Nobles admitted that he used the stamps purchased with money stolen from UGA in his private mail-out business. He also admitted trading the stamps for merchandise and trips and selling the stamps to stamp vendors. The investigation revealed that not only did Nobles use the university to purchase stamps, but he also stole thousands of dollars of envelopes, stationery, film, computers and parts, and other items.
Clarke County Superior Court Judge Steve C. Jones sentenced Nobles on the thirteen theft by taking counts to 15 years, five to be served, the remainder on probation, all to be served concurrently. For the criminal attempt, Nobles was sentenced to five years probation, to be served consecutive to the other 13 counts. The court ordered restitution in the amount of $319,500.00, but deferred ruling on the manner of payment until Tuesday.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin and investigated by Special Agents Mike Pearson and Gary Hughes with the Athens office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.