By Stan Welch
The State of South Carolina’s case against Ron Wilson and Atlantic Bullion and Coin has essentially been placed in the hands of federal investigative and prosecutorial agencies, said S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson Monday.
Speaking to The Journal following his public address to The First Monday Club of Anderson, a conservative group that brings together business and political interests, Attorney General Wilson confirmed that the Secret Service and Department of Justice have assumed control of and responsibility for that case.
“We discovered the discrepancies involved, and initiated the investigation; but once the basic structure of the case was established, it became clear they are better suited to proceed.”
Wilson, a former Anderson County councilman, is cooperating with federal authorities in the investigation of an alleged $90 million Ponzi scheme which saw Wilson and various agents of his sell silver securities in lieu of actual tangible precious metals. According to a complaint filed by the SCAG’s Office back in March, Wilson sold said securities without being licensed.
The latest reports from the investigation indicate that more than 900 investors from as many as 25 states were bilked out of tens of millions of dollars.
Attorney General Wilson, after being promised by State Senator Kevin Bryant that he wouldn’t accidentally introduce him as Ron Wilson, went to great pains to assure everyone “I am NOT that Wilson.”
AG Wilson was also asked by The Journal whether the grand jury, which is investigating possible political corruption in Anderson County, was aware of the recent statements by members of the S.C. Supreme Court concerning the events surrounding the buyout of former county administrator Joey Preston.
Wilson declined to speak about any specific case but stated that any germane and confirmed information which his Office has that pertains to a case before the grand jury is presented to them.
He also explained that the grand jury meets only 22 days a year. “They are independent, eighteen citizens who meet two days a month, eleven months a year. We present information on all the cases they are hearing. They hear several at once, so the fact that a case may take two or three years isn’t unusual.
The comments were made during arguments before the Supreme Court concerning whether Anderson County resident Rick Freemantle had the legal standing to pursue a lawsuit he brought on behalf of tax payers to recover the severance package awarded Preston by the 2008 lame duck County Council.
Judge Cordell Maddox had ruled that Freemantle did not have standing and threw out his lawsuit out. Freemantle and his attorney Charles R. Griffin,III appealed, and the Supreme Court intervened, taking the case under advisement without waiting for the Appellate decision.
The tone of the comments made it clear that the Chief Justice, as well as other members of the Court, found much to disapprove of in the way the buyout was handled and conducted. Chief Justice Jean Toal stated plainly that it was simply an organized effort to “give your pal Mr. Preston a golden parachute.”