Former Councilman Ron Wilson Gets Nearly 20 Years For Involvemen - WSPA.com

Former Councilman Ron Wilson Gets Nearly 20 Years For Involvement In Ponzi Scheme

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By Wspa Staff

Updated: November 13, 2012

Former Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson was sentenced to 19 years and seven months behind bars Tuesday after pleading guilty to mail fraud.

Wilson, 65, appeared before the Honorable Michelle Childs in federal court in Greenville. He was given the maximum sentence.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud in July after investigators say he used his business, Atlantic Bullion and Coin, to defraud 800 investors out of nearly $60 million.

Ron Wilson was cuffed inside a federal courthouse and taken in a van to spend the next 19 years of his life in prison.

Federal officials tell us he will be housed at either the Anderson city jail or the jail in Spartanburg, until officials with the federal prisons system decide which prison he will go to serve out his sentence.

Linda Atkins invested with Wilson and his company, Atlantic Bullion and Coin. She says, “I just feel like he (Wilson) got what he deserved, and this can be some closure for us.”

Almost 800 people lost more than $57 million dollars by giving money to Wilson. He admits he ran a silver investment Ponzi scheme for 11 years before he was stopped.

In court, Wilson said he was sorry, adding, “Sin always starts small. At first you think you can handle it…It never works out that way.”

Wilson’s brother was also a victim of the scheme. In court, he asked Judge Michelle Childs to go light on his brother. She did not.

Investor Ray McNeely says he didn’t think Wilson would be sentenced to as much time as he was. McNeely says, “I was worried he might not get ten or twelve years.”

Beattie Ashmore, the court appointed receiver for the victims, says, “As I stand before you today, I cannot tell you where all the money went.”

Ashmore is trying to sale Wilson’s farm in Woodruff and his estate in Easley. Ashmore says some of the money has been spent, and the cash trail is difficult to track.

Atkins says, “I don’t think we’ll get very much back.”

One investor said in court that money was not the “big thing” to focus on Tuesday. He said what’s important is that Wilson “stole the lives of 798 people.”

Judge Childs said in court Monday, if Wilson cooperates, he could ask, at a later date, for his sentenced to be reconsidered.

Wilson is not eligible for parole, since parole has been abolished in the federal system. Unless his sentence changes, he will be 85 years old when he gets out of prison. 

Updated: November 12, 2012

Sentencing for former Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Federal Courthouse in Greenville. 

He could face 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud. 

Investigators said he used his business, Atlantic Bullion and Coin, to defraud 800 investors out of nearly $60 million dollars.

Updated: October 16, 2012

A man charged in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that involved buying silver is set to be sentenced.

Court records show Ronnie Wilson is expected in federal court in Greenville on Nov. 13.

7 On Your Side contacted Wilson Tuesday, but he had no comment when asked about his sentencing and the federal case against him.

Wilson pleaded guilty to mail fraud in July and faces up to 20 years in prison. Authorities say hundreds of people invested about $90 million with the former Anderson County councilman, who told investigators he bought silver and shipped it to customers.

But authorities say Wilson changed receipts to keep the scheme going and lost nearly $60 million.

Wilson has said he will make full restitution. His bank accounts have been frozen, and he has been out of jail on $1 million bond.

Last week, Wallace Lindsey Howell was charged with helping Wilson keep the scheme going.

Posted: July 30, 2012

Former Anderson County Council member Ron Wilson pleaded guilty in court Monday.

The plea to two counts of mail fraud was expected after documents were released Friday.

Wilson is at the center of an investigation into an alleged ponzi scheme.  He was arrested in April.

Investigators say he took millions of dollars from investors through his business, Atlantic Bullion & Coin, but never actually purchased the metal as promised.

According to the documents, Wilson knowingly devised and/or participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises.

Wilson and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office came to the agreement Friday.

He has agreed to provide detailed financial information to the U.S. Probation Office prior to sentencing.

The judge accepted the plea Monday. Wilson will be sentenced at a later date. He faces 20-years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Outside the courthouse, 7 On Your Side’s Robin Kanady asked Ron Wilson, “Mr. Wilson, Do you have anything to say? Mr. Wilson, do you have anything to say to the investors?”

The once outspoken former Anderson County councilman did not say anything. Our cameras are not allowed inside federal court.

In court, Wilson admitted to cheating more than 800 investors out of about $60 million and lying to them about purchasing silver with their money through his company, Atlantic Bullion and Coin. Prosecutors said in court that Wilson made a statement to the Secret Service after he was arrested in April on two counts of mail fraud. In that statement, according to prosecutors, Wilson says, “I am sorry for what I have done.”

Michele Graham invested with Wilson. She says, “(In court) He (Wilson) did not look directly at me, but just seeing his face, it made me sick.”

Graham says she thought she was getting such a good return that she convinced her father in law to invest. She says, “That makes me even feel worse. I feel responsible, and it’s hard every day to live with this pain, not so much for myself but to watch my loved ones suffer because of it.”

The US Attorney’s Office told 7 On Your Side Monday it’s too early to tell how much investors will get back.

Beattie Ashmore is the court appointed receiver for Wilson’s investors. Ashmore says, “If you got money from Ron Wilson, we’re going to come back after you and get that money back. If in turn you gave him money, you don’t have a penny to show for it, you’ll be at the front of the list in terms of recovering monies.”

Under a plea agreement between prosecutors and Wilson, he faces up to 20 years in prison. In court Monday, the judge said she does not have to accept the plea agreement.

Investors hope the court will listen to them when it comes to sentencing. Graham says, “Maybe life in prison would be enough. Anything short of that…he’s  (Wilson has) destroyed thousands of lives.”

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