UPSTATE – The former Anderson County councilman who is accused of bilking his silver investors out of more than $50 million is expected to plead guilty to charges of mail fraud.
According to a letter sent to investors by U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles last week, Wilson was originally set to appear at a hearing in Greenville on May 15.
But Wilson’s attorneys have asked for a 60-day delay and prosecutors agreed to that delay, court documents show.
In the letter, Watkins told investors that the purpose of the May 15 hearing was for Wilson to enter a guilty plea.
Wilson’s attorney asked for more time to go through the government’s evidence against his client.
Wilson is accused of defrauding hundreds of investors in 25 states out of millions in investment funds.
He turned himself in last month on the mail fraud charges. Wilson’s wife posted bail for her husband.
The criminal complaint against Wilson and his Atlantic Bullion & Coin business claims that Wilson “knowingly devised a scheme or used an artifice to defraud and used the United States mail in executing this scheme.”
The scheme began in January 2001 and ended in March, the complaint states.
According to the affidavit attached to the complaint filed by Secret Service agent Thomas Griffin, Wilson claimed that Atlantic Bullion & Coin told investors silver would be held for them at a Delaware depository.
“Records reveal that Wilson is not actually purchasing a sufficient amount of silver to cover the orders placed by his clients,” the affidavit states.
“Moreover, Wilson is altering client account statements to reflect different prices and numbers of shares” from those found in the original order and account statements, the affidavit states.
“All indications are that the Silver Investment Accounts are nothing more than tools used in an elaborate Ponzi scheme,” the affidavit states.
In the affidavit, Griffin states that the investigation uncovered “no account, contract or stored silver” at the Delaware Depository, either in Wilson’s name or in the name of Atlantic Bullion & Coin.
The affidavit states that Wilson testified to investigators in February that he and AB&C’s business “was buying bars exclusively in 100 or 1,000 ounce quantities, that he and his business actually took possession of the silver bars, and that he and his business did not store the bars.
The affidavit quotes Wilson as testifying that clients could pick up the silver themselves or it could be shipped to clients but “everything goes out to the client.”
No evidence supporting Wilson’s statements exists, the affidavit states.
Nettles has also asked that a receiver be appointed in the case.
The receiver will be in charged of creating a plan for the “equitable distribution of Wilson’s assets.”
The state is also investigating Wilson, although no state charges have been filed against Wilson yet.
Wilson is also facing two lawsuits in connection with the alleged Ponzi scheme.
In the letter, Watkins tells investors that they can attend the hearing, but that their presence is not required.