Former Houston city treasurer sentenced to more than 2 years in prison for embezzlement

The former treasurer for the City of Houston was sentenced Tuesday to spend 2 1/2 years in prison for embezzling from the town and from a Wasilla-based equipment company.

In total, Jess Adams, 67, embezzled about $1.16 million over a six-year period, according to a plea agreement filed in the case. With the stolen money, he bought at least eight cars, purchased firearms, spent $55,000 on Amazon purchases, withdrew more than $90,000 cash and spent about $60,000 at an auto repair shop, the agreement said.

Adams was employed from 2015 to 2018 as the treasurer for the city. Houston is located along the Parks Highway in the Mat-Su and is home to about 2,000 people. He was responsible for bookkeeping and used his access to the city’s accounts to transfer roughly $275,000 to his own account, the agreement said.

He was hired in 2019 to work as a bookkeeper for Alaska Electric and Control, which operates as Jewell Equipment Co. in Wasilla, the agreement said. Adams again began misappropriating funds from the business to his personal accounts, according to the plea agreement. In total, he transferred $888,000 to himself and took more than $13,000 in cash by 2022, it said.

Adams did not disclose the stolen funds when he filed taxes and avoided paying roughly $320,000 in taxes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Bradley wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

He was initially indicted in 2023 on 17 counts of wire fraud, eight charges of money laundering and six counts of tax evasion. He pleaded guilty in October to a count of wire fraud, eight charges of money laundering and six counts of tax evasion.

Assistant federal defender Burke Wonnell described a number of serious health issues Adams is facing and asked the judge in a sentencing memorandum to allow him to serve his sentence at home rather than in a prison.


Adams wrote a letter that was read aloud during the sentencing hearing apologizing for “the inexcusable hurt and mistrust” he caused.

As part of the plea agreement, Adams agreed to repay more than $1.5 million in restitution.

He was sentenced on Tuesday to spend 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at