By Stan Welch
The securities case against former county councilman Ron Wilson moved forward this week, as United States Attorney Bill Nettles filed a brief seeking the appointment of a federal receiver for Wilson’s assets.
Documents filed in the US District Court indicate that the alleged Ponzi scheme involving the sale of silver securities resulted in the swindling of 945 investors in as many as twenty five states, to the tune of approximately $90 million.
The brief filed by Nettles points out that under the relevant law, all property constituting or derived from or used to facilitate such actions ( the Ponzi scheme) is subject to forfeiture. The brief seeks the appointment of a federal receiver “to collect, marshal and take custody of and control of all assets of Wilson and Atlantic Bullion & Coin to satisfy an anticipated forfeiture judgement.”
Jeffery Merriam, Wilson’s attorney, stated that Wilson continues to cooperate with the federal authorities and has no objection to the appointment of a receiver.
State and federal authorities took action in March to close Atlantic Bullion and Coin, a company owned and operated by Wilson. Soon after, Secret Service and Treasury agents executed a federal search warrant on the offices of AB&C, as well as the adjacent offices of Live Oak Farms, a business owned by Wilson’s daughter, Alison Schaum.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a complaint in the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court alleging that Wilson’s bullion and coin brokerage business was in fact a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
In the complaint, Attorney General Wilson alleges that Atlantic Bullion & Coin (AB&C) had represented to investors that the silver purchased on their behalf actually physically existed, even though it did not in fact.
The complaint also claimed that neither Wilson, nor any of his sales representatives, are licensed to sell securities in South Carolina, or any of the other approximately 25 states in which the securities have been sold.
Wilson also stated under oath to state investigators in February that he had silver at the Delaware Depository in the amount of approximately a half million ounces. The complaint alleges that no evidence of such an arrangement was found at the Delaware Depository.
Wilson has operated the business since 1985, and in 1996 was served with a cease and desist order, a consent order which the complaint alleges Wilson agreed to and signed. The complaint further alleges that Wilson continued to offer the securities for sale anyway, and failed to disclose the consent order.
Wilson served two terms as the County Council representative from District Six. He was also the author of the controversial buyout of former county administrator Joey Preston, who has reportedly been offering these securities for sale in recent months.
Documents on file with the U.S. District Court include a long list of assets, including real estate, art work, firearms, vehicles, bank accounts, coins, bullion and other precious metals.
Federal investigators indicate that fifty nine million dollars was lost as a result of the scheme.
Wilson remains free on one million dollars bond, as of the time of the writing of this article.