Former Murphy USA Executive Charged in T-Shirt Scam

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Former Murphy USA Executive Charged in T-Shirt Scam

EL DORADO, Ark. -- A former marketing vice president for Murphy USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Murphy Oil Co. based in El Dorado, Ark., was charged Tuesday with embezzling $81,907 in a T-shirt billing scheme that began in 2007, according to

Paul C. Wells was charged with seven felony theft counts for allegedly submitting inflated invoices for promotional T-shirts distributed to gas station employees.

Authorities claim the 43-year-old Wells orchestrated the billing system after asking his wife to set up a T-shirt design business, which she started with her aunt.

According to the arrest affidavit, Wells turned in invoices ranging from $1,600 to $51,960 from the women's company, Wildcat Marketing, after already submitting legitimate invoices from another T-shirt vendor.

Neither Wells' wife nor her aunt face charges, according to

Internal auditors at Murphy Oil began investigating Wells last year after the accounting department flagged one of the shirt invoices as suspicious, according to the arrest affidavit. In late January, the company turned over its findings to authorities, the report stated.

Wells was arrested Monday and released on a $50,000 bond. He left Murphy Oil in December 2008, but the terms of his departure were unclear Tuesday.

A Murphy company spokesman commented: "As a result of an internal investigation, certain irregularities were discovered, and the matter has been turned over to the authorities."

Murphy USA is almost 1,000 stores strong in 20 states throughout the U.S. Murphy USA stations are located in Wal-Mart parking lots in the central and southeastern portion of the United States.