Manager of wheelchair repair shop facing charges of theft, deception
by Rachel Gray
April 24, 2014 12:10 AM | 4840 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Esther Wallace
Esther Wallace
SMYRNA — The manager of a power wheelchair repair shop was arrested by Smyrna Police on Monday after they say she bilked customers — and potentially the federal government — out of thousands of dollars in fake repairs.

A warrant says Esther Wallace of Marietta pressured her employees to conspire against the national chain Precision Repair Network Inc. between May 1 and Aug. 12 of 2013. The company’s Smyrna location is in a commercial building off Roswell Road, east of Atlanta Road.

During that summer, the warrant said, Wallace ordered 19 wheelchairs valued at $42,000, but, authorities say, it was apparent the chairs were missing after an inventory.

The chairs were supposed to be used for parts to fix motorized wheelchairs brought in by customers, but the Smyrna police investigation concluded most of the repairs were not made.

The warrant said Wallace told employees the company was failing and to take any motorized chairs in lieu of payment “or they would not receive anything.”

Smyrna Police also said Wallace ordered employees to file false work orders.

“She demanded the employees to repair chairs if they needed it or not,” the warrant said.

These charges to the customers were then submitted as federal Medicare claims, which were denied, the warrant said.

Wallace is charged with a misdemeanor of deceptive business practice and a felony of theft by taking. She was granted a $50,000 bond and was released Tuesday.

There were also warrants issued for six employees, most from Marietta, but there were no arrest records for them with the Cobb jail.

Some warrants accused the employees of taking wheelchairs in lieu of payment or filing work orders ranging from $6,000 to $7,000 in false repairs.

The warrants cite customers who stated they could not tell any repairs were completed, other than a replaced seat cover or batteries.

One customer told Smyrna Police he never received his chair back and “was left with a loaner,” a warrant stated.

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