VALDOSTA -- The landscaper charged with embezzling $864,000 in federal funds from the Valdosta-Lowndes County YMCA was found guilty of embezzlement and conspiracy to embezzle Tuesday in the Valdosta Division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

Wayman Lee Patrick Jr. was acquitted of misleading conduct, count five of the indictment, after a five-day jury trial.

Patrick faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy conviction and 10 years for the embezzlement conviction, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Judge Hugh Lawson ordered Patrick to return to court in about 60 days for sentencing.

Patrick, along with former YMCA Director Nicky Tampas, was indicted in February. Tampas was also indicted for making false statements and an additional count of embezzlement.

From Jan. 1, 1999, to Dec. 30, 2002, Tampas, with Patrick's knowledge, converted federal YMCA funds for his own use, embezzled and disguised as legitimate payments from the YMCA to Patrick, then concealed his actions by destroying records, according to the indictments.

About 26 of Patrick's Exterior Designs employees were placed on the YMCA payroll under Tampas' direction and were paid by the YMCA while working on other job sites, it was disclosed in court.

During this time, Patrick also purchased material and equipment on the YMCA account that was used by Exterior Designs at other locations than the YMCA, according to Jim Crane, U.S. Assistant District Attorney.

Defense attorney James Tunison declined comment Tuesday.

Family and friends, who had a consistent presence during the trial, cried after the verdict was read.

Tampas is expected to go to trial in November.

In January, former YMCA business manager Toni Fillyaw was sentenced to 42 months in prison in connection with the investigation.

Fillyaw was found guilty on Sept. 10, 2004, of embezzling about $1.3 million in YMCA funds, mail fraud and mailing fraudulent financial statements, following a four-day jury trial.



To contact Brianne Sweetland, call (229) 244-3400, ext. 245.

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