COLUMBUS, Ga. (Cw44 Nws At 10)– A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging eight people, including the former Deputy Clerk of Muscogee County Court, with various criminal charges including bank fraud, wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property amounting to an alleged loss of nearly $500,000 to Muscogee County during an 11-month period in 2019.

Willie Demps, 63, of Phenix City, Alabama, is charged with one count conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 35 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. If convicted, Demps faces a maximum sentence of 30 years on the conspiracy charge, a maximum sentence of 20 years on each of the wire fraud charges and a maximum sentence of ten years on each of the interstate transportation charges. Each count of conviction also carries a maximum of three years of supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine. Demps’ initial appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, August 24, at 11 a.m. in Columbus federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles.

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Curtis Porch, 48, of Columbus, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property.  If convicted, Porch faces the same potential penalties as co-defendant Demps.

Dereen Porch, 43, of Columbus, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  If convicted, Porch faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine.

Terry McBride, 43, of Smiths Station, Alabama, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 31 counts of wire fraud and 31 counts of transportation of stolen property. If convicted, McBride faces the same potential penalties as co-defendant Demps.

Samuel Cole, 72, of Columbus, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts wire fraud, two counts transportation of stolen property and false statements.  If convicted, Cole faces the same potential penalties as co-defendant Demps, plus a maximum of five years, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the false statements charge.

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Rosalee Bassi, 65, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, is charged with one count conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  If convicted, Bassi faces the same potential penalties as co-defendant Dereen Porch.

Lamarcus Palmer, 34, of Smiths Station, Alabama, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, Palmer faces a maximum of 30 years on the conspiracy charge, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. If convicted of wire fraud, he faces a maximum of twenty years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

George Cook, 33, of Columbus, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  If convicted, he faces the same potential penalties as co-defendant Dereen Porch.

According to the now unsealed indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, August 11, and unsealed on Wednesday, August 18, Demps, who worked for the Muscogee County Clerk for approximately 30 years, supervised money deposits received by the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office received money from fines and condemnations, and payments were frequently made in cash. Most of the cash was given to Demps, who had the responsibility of depositing Muscogee County funds. Demps is accused of making Clerk of Superior Court checks payable to various co-defendants in dollar amounts he filled in and endorsed. Demps would allegedly meet various co-defendants in locations away from his place of business at the Clerk’s Office to give the illicit checks to them to be cashed at banks in Columbus and in nearby Alabama. The co-defendants are accused of cashing the checks and returning the money to Demps, who would allegedly give the participating co-defendant a portion of the money. It is alleged that during the time period between January 2019 to November 2019, Demps and his co-defendants cashed at least $467,331 in checks stolen from the Muscogee County Clerk’s Office.

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FBI, IRS and the Columbus Police Department are investigating the case.