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Former employee of metro real estate company to serve 34 months in prison for embezzlement, tax fraud

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The former employee of a metro real estate company has been sentenced to federal prison for embezzlement and tax fraud.

James Lee Ward Jr. will serve 34 months for making a forged security and filing a false tax return in connection with his embezzlement of more than $250,000 from a metro real estate company.

Ward is a former Title Closing Coordinator at Paradigm AdvantEdge, LLC (“Paradigm”), a real estate company in Oklahoma City.

According to case records, Ward forged a $6,900 check from Paradigm payable to a bogus business entity under his control, made to look like a legitimate payee in Paradigm’s real estate transactions.

At his plea hearing back in March, Ward admitted that he forged the signature of a Paradigm owner and issued the $6,900 check to himself without the approval of Paradigm.

In a plea agreement, Ward agreed that the total loss from his embezzlement was $250,415.00.

It is also alleged that Ward submitted a false federal income tax return for 2014 by failing to report substantial income from the embezzlement.  At his plea hearing, Ward admitted that he omitted approximately $140,000 of embezzled income from Paradigm on his 2014 return.

Ward was sentenced to 34 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.

He was ordered to pay restitution to Paradigm and its insurers in the total amount of $250,415.00.  He was also ordered to pay $50,777.72 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for federal income tax due from his unreported embezzlement income.

Ward must report to federal prison on October 6, 2017.