Courts & Crime

Former Wachovia VP Welch charged with defrauding bank

Terry Scott Welch led what seemed like a charmed life: a vice president position at Wachovia, a big house on Lake Norman with a pier, and glowing reviews from co-workers on his online resume.

But the image was built on years of criminal acts, at least according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. On Thursday, it accused Welch of leading a nine-year conspiracy in which he billed his employer for millions of dollars worth of home renovations, jet skis, golf carts, jewelry and other goods.

Scott Welch, 47, entered a plea agreement on Thursday that indicates he plans to plead guilty to at least some of the charges.

The government has asked for permission to seize his house in Mooresville, appraised by Iredell County at nearly $900,000. The IRS says he owes $1.7 million in unpaid taxes. He faces up to 35 years in prison and is on the hook for paying back millions to the bank.

All told, prosecutors say, Welch ran up $11.2 million worth of false bills for his employer.

Welch's attorney, Andrew Murray, said his client "has accepted responsibility and looks forward to getting this behind him."

Prosecutors also charged John Cousar Jr., a firefighter from Albemarle, and Delmar Dove, who ran a landscaping firm in Charlotte, in the filing. Cousar and Dove have also entered plea agreements.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Welch ran his scheme from about 2000 through November 2008, shortly after Wachovia announced it would be bought by Wells Fargo. Prosecutors didn't say how the scheme was discovered.

Welch was a vice president in utility services at Wachovia, working from a distribution center in Charlotte. His responsibilities included paying the invoices submitted by contractors who worked for the bank.

Apparently, all of the men involved in the conspiracy knew Welch through business relationships, but they did not know one another.

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