Silver ponzi scheme fleeces investors of $65 million
A silver ponzi scheme run out of South Carolina fleeced precious metals investors of USD$65 million over a three year period.
Forbes magazine reports that Ronnie Wilson's Atlantic Bullion and Coin, Inc. managed to convince investors to put approximately $65 million into silver bars from January 2009 to February 2012, as spot prices gained due to concerns over the global economy's health in the immediate wake of the GFC.
According to the authorities, however, Atlantic Bullion was running a brazen ponzi scheme which purchased a barely nominal quantity of silver while using the proceeds of subsequent subscribers to provide returns to earlier investors.
Following exposure of the Ponzi scheme court-appointed receiver Beattie Ashmore discovered that out of thousands of silver bars that Atlantic should have amassed with investor proceeds only 85 1000-ounce bars had been purchased, with a mere 64 still remaining.
Instead, Atlantic Bullion's owner Ronnie Wilson had used the money for his personal and business interests, with assets recovered by the Ashmore including six vehicles, eleven properties and a small trove of art works and firearms.
In an odd twist however, Ashmore, who as court-appointed receiver was entrusted with management of Atlantic Bullion's assets, was able to obtain a Ponzi-sized return on the sale of bullion that the company did purchase by patiently waiting through recent spot price gains until the Federal Reserve's announcement of its bond-buying program on September 12.
Ashmore recovered $675,000 for the scheme's victims from sale of the silver as prices surged, realizing gains a solid 25% in advance of appraisals conducted on the day of Wilson's arrest.
Wilson pleaded guilty in August to two counts of male fraud and faces a maximum prison sentence of twenty years for each offense.