U.S. prosecutors arrested three men, including a former telecommunications executive, in connection with the misappropriation of $2 million from cable and telephone provider SureWest Communications.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento has charged Jeffrey Wells, SureWest’s former senior treasury analyst; his father, Larry Wells; and their associate, Henry Kaiser.
According to prosecutors, the senior Wells and Kaiser owned a venture-capital firm called Quivira Ventures. Jeffrey Wells allegedly transferred funds from SureWest into his father’s company, purportedly for use in attracting new clients by demonstrating that Quivira was well-funded.
The trio allegedly transferred up to $25 million, returning it to SureWest each time to avoid detection by auditors. But late last year, the venture was only able to return $23 million.
If convicted, each man could be sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The arrests were announced Feb. 6. On Feb. 9, SureWest filed a civil action in Placer County Superior Court to recover the $2 million, plus punitive and compensatory damages.