George R. Avery, 55, of Oak Lawn.

A former employee of a business near Lake Forest was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing nearly $1 million from the company over the span of 10 years.

George R. Avery, 55, of Oak Lawn, was charged in July 2018 with two counts of theft between $500,000 and $1 million, a Class 1 felony.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that a business made a report with the sheriff’s office in July 2018.

The company, located in unincorporated Lake Forest, reported an employee was believed to have committed thefts totaling nearly $1 million.

The thefts began in 2005 and spanned just over ten years, Covelli said.

Investigators learned Avery was using a company credit card to make HVAC purchases that would ordinarily be used in homes.

He would then sell the HVAC products to others at a reduced rate, Covelli said.

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During an internal audit, the company found over 600 invoices that appeared to be purchases of equipment the company would not utilize.

Following the internal audit and investigation, sheriff’s detectives reviewed all of the financial data and conducted separate interviews, Covelli said.

Sheriff’s detectives then obtained an arrest warrant for Avery and he was taken into custody days later.

Court records show Avery entered into a negotiated plea deal with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

He pleaded guilty on January 19 to one count of theft between $500,000 and $1 million, a Class 1 felony. Prosecutors dismissed the second charge against him.

Lake County Judge James Booras approved the plea deal and sentenced Avery to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

State records show Avery was transported to Stateville Correctional Center.

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His projected parole date was not available yet.