George David George, 64, of Franklin, Tennessee, and the former owner of WellCity, Inc. (“WellCity”) will spend the next 20 years in federal prison for operating a fraudulent investment scheme that bilked dozens of investors out of $3 million, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
George was sentenced today by visiting U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson, sitting by designation, who also ordered George to pay $2,833,968.77 in restitution and ordered that he remain in custody to begin serving his sentence. George has been in federal custody since January, 4, 2019, when he was apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Florida after absconding from the Middle District of Tennessee in May, 2017.
“I commend our prosecutors, law enforcement partners and the many victims who persevered throughout the life of this case,” said U.S. Attorney Cochran. “Because of their tenacity, Mr. George will have little to no chance of inflicting his many deceitful scams upon anyone else as he spends the next 20 years in prison.”
George was initially charged in May 2015 with securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering and was charged with additional counts of wire fraud in February 2017. George was later indicted in May 2017 for failing to appear in U.S. District Court, after he failed to appear for a bond revocation hearing and prior to the start of his trial scheduled for May 16, 2017.
Today, during a plea hearing, George pleaded guilty to seven counts of wire fraud, and one count of mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. George admitted that he represented himself as the founder and CEO of WellCity, Inc., a company based in Brentwood, Tennessee, that purported to operate a social network devoted to wellness. George solicited millions of dollars from investors by making misrepresentations regarding the revenue and assets of the company, misrepresentations regarding collateral to secure investors’ loans, and misrepresentations regarding the status of a supposed WellCity initial public offering.
George concealed from investors the facts that WellCity had earned very little revenue and had not successfully attracted significant corporate sponsorship; that WellCity had breached investment contracts with dozens of investors and owed millions of dollars to prior investors; that George had made repeated but unfulfilled promises, over the course of several years, that shares of WellCity stock would imminently start trading publically; and that George continued to offer supposed shares in WellCity stock even after the Tennessee Securities Division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance issued a Cease & Desist Order prohibiting him from doing so.
At the conclusion of the plea hearing, the Court moved immediately to the sentencing phase and several witnesses testified about George’s conduct during his time on the run, including video testimony from a victim in Florida. According to testimony, during this time, George lived in multiple jurisdictions and used two different aliases to conceal his identity and to avoid apprehension.
First, George lived in Houston, Texas, under the alias “David Brown,” using fake identity documents, including a fake International Driver’s License bearing George’s photo. While living in Houston, George solicited investments in a sports membership business he operated, causing significant loss to investors. George next lived in Huntsville, Alabama, where he adopted the alias “Stephen Olivier,” using stolen identity documents from a neighbor whom he had befriended. While living there, George worked at a Mercedes dealership in Huntsville and leased a $70,000 Mercedes using that stolen identity.
Finally, George went to Ponte Verde Florida, where he represented himself as a Harvard-educated psychiatrist named Stephen Olivier. As Dr. Olivier, George “treated” patients in Ponte Verde. A video testimonial from a witness was played today’s hearing, during which the witness said she paid George, whom she knew as “Dr. Stephen Olivier,” $750 to “treat” her 16-year old son, who was suffering from depression. George conducted “therapy sessions” with her son and ultimately gave her an envelope containing Clonazepam for her son to take. George had previously taken this medication from a woman he met on Match.com and with whom he was having a romantic relationship with, while deceiving her as well. After her son took the medication, he became suicidal and had to be hospitalized. George was apprehended and arrested by the U.S. Marshals shortly thereafter in January 2019.
When pronouncing the sentence, Judge Wilson remarked that George had “larceny in his heart” and he felt it was his foremost duty to protect the public from George and his propensity to continue his pattern of fraud and deceit.
This case was investigated by the FBI; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Marshals Service; and the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn W. Booth, Miller A. Bushong, and Henry C. Leventis prosecuted the case.