Scott Welch accumulated. He bought golf carts and landscaped extravagantly and turned a modest ranch house into a striking estate. He had a log cabin playhouse built for his children and a pier built for his speedboat. And all of it was not terribly notable for a Wachovia executive in the midst of the Charlotte banking boom.
Welch himself seemed unremarkable - quiet and well-liked by most neighbors and colleagues, a family man who took his children to sporting events around Mooresville and beauty pageants in North Carolina. What was extraordinary, however, is how he financed this lifestyle.
For eight years, until he was laid off in 2008, Welch planned and executed an embezzlement scheme that defrauded Wachovia of $11.2 million, according to documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office last month. Welch, who had no formal college education, was helped by a Charlotte-area landscaper, a firefighter, a home remodeler and a forklift salesman.
The defendants - Welch, John Cousar Jr., Delmar Dove, Jerry Little and Robert Otto - each could face 30 years or more in prison and $1 million-plus in fines. Welch, Cousar and Dove are scheduled to enter guilty pleas this week in U.S. District Court.
Welch, through his attorney, Andrew Murray, declined to comment on the case.
"Scott feels very remorseful and extreme embarrassment for the pain he has caused his family," said Murray, a candidate for Mecklenburg County district attorney.
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