Posted 3/21/2005 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
For the same dadgum thing he went to the pokey for the first time.
Wheeler, featured as one of Arkansas Business' "40 Under 40" in 1995, pleaded guilty in 1996 to embezzling $1.3 million from his employer, CDI Contrac-tors Inc. of Little Rock.
As we reported at the time, he used his position as comptroller for general contractor Bill Clark to dummy up fake bills and pay them to himself.
He pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
But you know how those sentences work. He spent six months in boot camp and was still on parole when he went to work for another contractor, MCDR Contractors and Construc-tion Managers of Memphis, in the summer of 2000.
Over the next 30 months, according to the charges he pleaded guilty to last July, he embezzled almost $300,000 from MCDR.
Some of it he stole by persuading his employer to hire a company called Data Solutions for maintenance of MCDR's computer system. He never mentioned, it seems, that he was the owner and sole proprietor of Data Solutions, which was conveniently submitting fraudulent invoices that he was conveniently paying.
A big chunk of it — more than $94,000 — was wired from MCDR's bank account directly to a Data Solution account; thus, the federal charge of wire fraud that Wheeler copped to.
U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. of Memphis sentenced Wheeler in November to 36 months in a federal prison (with a recommendation that he receive psychotherapy treatment).
Wheeler, who was certified as indigent, was also ordered to pay $323,000 in restitution to MCDR and its liability carrier, Bituminous Insurance Cos. of Nashville, Tenn.
Court records indicate that he reported to the federal prison camp at Montgomery, Ala., on Jan. 14 — the day after his 42nd birthday.