By Stan Welch
Experience and compassion are the hallmarks of the Tracy Meyers, Senior Assistant Attorney General, who is handling her Office’s investigation into the Atlantic Bullion & Coin Company. (See related story elsewhere in this issue of The Journal.)
Meyers was with the AG’s Office when the Carolina Investors/Home Gold Financial scandal hit South Carolina. When questioned at Monday night’s meeting about why no criminal charges have been filed in the AB&C case, she said, “A week into the Carolina Investors case, I had 128,000 documents in my office. They had to be read and evaluated. This case promises to be much the same. My point is that criminal cases take much longer to build.”
Meyers will not be involved in any criminal investigation, since she is a civil lawyer, but will be reviewing many of the same documents in her preparations for the civil case against AB&C.
She pointed out that she and the Attorney General agonized over when to close down Wilson’s operation, which she describes as a long running Ponzi scheme. “For me, I was aware that the 92 year old man who drove himself to my office to make his complaint, and who is caring for his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer’s would lose everything the minute we filed our complaint. But there was fresh money coming in and being lost every day, so we had to move.”
She said the decision was made easier by the realization that the man had already lost his money, that it had been moved elsewhere or used to pay off another investor to maintain the charade.
Meyers told the crowd Monday night that Ponzi scheme operators are successful because they are adaptable. “They are good at what they do. For many of them, running their Ponzi scheme is their fulltime job. They find ways to overcome the investor’s objections. I’ve seen videos produced by Wilson and they are very convincing even to me, and I am trained to spot these things.”
She told investors not to feel responsible. “You were duped by someone who you trusted and who was in turn duped. There are several hallmarks of Ponzi schemes, and the involvement of friends and family by investors is one of them.”
Meyers was the attorney who dealt with Wilson in 1996 and says the success in getting him to sign a consent order to cease and desist from selling securities (for which he was not licensed) was an accomplishment. We had an anonymous complaint then and when we met with Mr. Wilson he assured us he did not sell securities but only real coins and bullion. Still, he signed a cease and desist order agreeing not to start selling securities in the future.”
“We really hoped, when we got this latest complaint, that AB&C would prove to be a legitimate business. That was not the case, and we are heartsick at the damage done to so many investors.”