A former prison staffer who falsified payroll entries so thousands of dollars could be paid to her daughter and another contract worker was sentenced to 10 years in state prison, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Debbie Lynn Wright, a senior clerk at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, was found guilty of one count of racketeering for entering overtime hours that were not earned by the two workers. In return, Wright received a kickback.
Prosecutors said the scheme, discovered in December 2009, led to the state’s depositing or issuing checks in the amount of $14,000 to Wright’s daughter, Christin Lynn Wright, and $129,000 to Paul Sylvester Thornhill, both hourly contract workers employed by Medical College of Georgia. Wright was contracted to work as an administrative assistant at the state prison and Thornhill as a licensed practical nurse at the facility.
Prosecutors said the overpayments were either directly deposited into bank accounts or checks were issued directly to Christin Wright or Thornhill. The two gave Debbie Wright the money from the overpayments, which she used to pay bills. Her two accomplices kept the money that was left over, prosecutors said.
The investigation resulted from a 2009 whistleblower complaint to the prison’s warden. The trio was fired within two weeks.
In addition to serving 10 years in prison, Debbie Lynn Wright must pay $27,500 in restitution. The cases against her daughter and Thornhill are pending, prosecutors said.
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