County Councilman’s Ally in $90 Million Ponzi Scheme Pleads Guilty

SC Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Involved in Councilman's Ponzi Scheme

SC Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Involved in Councilman’s Ponzi Scheme

Man from Maudlin Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Involved in Ponzi Scheme

A man from Maudlin, South Carolina pled guilty on Monday, January 14th, to his role in a $90 million ponzi scheme.

61-year-old Wallace Lindsay Howell pled guilty to wire fraud in the ponzi scheme that landed former Anderson County Councilman Ronnie Wilson a 20-year prison sentence.

According to prosecutors, Howell brought in at least two new investors, and possibly many more, to Wilson’s business, Atlantic Bullion & Coin of Easley, SC, for a commission. Howell’s indictment focused on two clients that he introduced to Wilson’s business.

The former councilman was sentenced in November to 235 months (just shy of 20 years) in prison, and $57 million in restitutions. He was accused of using investors’ money for personal gain, instead of investing it in his business on their behalf. The ponzi scheme began in 2001, and continued until early 2012 – about 11 years.

According to authorities, nearly 800 people invested $90 million in Wilson and his business. Howell received payoffs of $9.5 million total for his role in the ponzi scheme, with an additional $800,000 in real estate farm property in Fountain Inn. Howell also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and/or a fine of $250,000.

Ponzi Scheme Funneled Money to Howell for “Expenses” And Gain

Court documents showed that, in April 2006, the two clients made a profit on their investments because of silver trades that Wilson allegedly made for them. Wilson later admitted to Secret Service agents that the trades would be left off of the clients’ statements so they would be unaware of the trade. Their “ounce ownership” would remain constant.

According to Wilson’s testimony, between April 2006 and March 2012, Howell received the investment money that should have gone to his clients, totaling $6,264,960. During that time, Howell also withdrew an additional $2.7 million of the Ponzi scheme’s money for personal expenses.

Howell never invested his own money in Wilson’s business.

Defending Federal Wire Fraud Cases and Ponzi Scheme Accusations in South Carolina

Ponzi schemes and wire fraud carry serious federal charges. The Strom Law Firm can help.

Ponzi schemes and wire fraud carry serious federal charges. The Strom Law Firm can help.

The law broadly defines wire fraud as devising or intending to devise a scheme to defraud others of money or property under false or fraudulent pretenses, such as in Wilson’s and Howell’s ponzi scheme, representations or promises by means of electronic communications, or “wires.” Because they typically involve interstate matters, most wire fraud cases are considered federal crimes with convictions carrying heavy fines, prison sentences of up to 20 years, or both.

Our firm provides extensive experience representing clients in major criminal cases and investigations involving wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, and RICO violations. While we strive to resolve matters discreetly through aggressive negotiation, our fraud attorneys will not hesitate to take your case to trial.

Federal bank fraud cases can also center on the wiring of money or information used to deceive individuals, businesses, or customers.

The Strom Law Firm, LLC has the experience that you need to defend your wire fraud charge or ponzi scheme accusations. We will fight hard to have your charges reduced, or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.

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