WG&L uncovers couple's fraud scheme - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

WG&L uncovers couple's fraud scheme

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An Albany man and woman are accused of trying to rip off Albany Water, Gas & Light. Prosecutors say they lied to have their utilities turned back on without a hefty penalty.    

Prosecutors say Emma Chappell and her boyfriend Clarence Caldwell used a phony lease form to try to get their electricity and water turned back on, hoping to get utilities without paying off a big debt they still owed.

"It was a pretty elaborate scheme.  What was done was a lease allegedly was created, falsely signed, and then brought to Water Gas and Light division by another person who had been recruited," said Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards.

Water Gas and Light has an investigative division of law enforcement officers because of these type frauds.   "It occurs on a regular basis. We do see it." said WG&L Investigator Mickey Bradford.

  WG&L Investigator Billy Bird said "Purely to get out of an old bill.  You we only ask that people pay for the utilities that they have already used and legally owe us."

WG&L has seen this rip off so much, every desk in their headquarters has signs warning people it is a felony to falsely fill out forms.  Every new customer has to sign a card saying they have been informed that it's a serious crime.

And it's important to you, because freeloaders make everyone's Water Gas and Light bills increase. "I understand times are tough, and we try to help our customers are much as we can," Bird said.

"Customers come in, they are honest with us about their situation, and we do our best to work with them. We have different programs in place," Bradford said.

Investigators and prosecutors say they are serious about prosecuting these false statement crimes, and they can bring a maximum prison term of five years for a conviction.

 

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