Bremen Man Sentenced for Investment Scheme
ROME, GA- JEFFREY WALLACE “J.W.” EDWARDS, 46, of Bremen, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Robert L. Vining, Jr. to prison on federal charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Mr. Edwards tricked investors from all walks of life into turning over their life savings to him, with outrageous promises of high returns. Rather than investing the money they entrusted to him, as he had promised, he used it to buy luxury goods and land. This case should serve as a warning to potential investors: don’t believe promises that are too good to be true. And to the con artists out there like this defendant: one day, when the house of cards you are building on a foundation of lies comes tumbling down, you could end up serving a significant federal prison sentence, just like this defendant.”
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Rodney E. Clarke said, “The sentence today does not replace the losses that were incurred due to this scheme. However, it does illustrate that IRS CI along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to pursuing individuals who commit these types of crimes.”
EDWARDS was sentenced to 9 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. The Court stated that it would issue an order within ninety days, specifying the restitution Edwards would be required to pay to victims. The Court also ordered EDWARDS and FRONTIER HOLDINGS to forfeit their interests in four parcels of real property located in Haralson County, Georgia that were purchased with the proceeds of the scheme to defraud, four additional parcels of real property that EDWARDS previously owned, a 2006 Cadillac Escalade, a 2006 Lincoln Town Car, and a 2006 Lincoln Mark LT truck. In addition, the Court ordered EDWARDS and FRONTIER HOLDINGS each to pay personal money judgments of $2,043,626, which represents the amount of proceeds they obtained as a result of the mail and wire fraud offenses, and $3,240,687, which represents the amount of laundered money. EDWARDS was convicted of 17 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of mail fraud, and 11 counts of money laundering, on August 30, 2011, after a two week-long jury trial.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: The evidence at trial showed that between February 2006 and February 2007, EDWARDS promised investors they would receive returns of between 41 and 1066 percent on the money they placed in the “high yield” investment programs that he had with the Federal Reserve Bank. The evidence showed that EDWARDS also claimed to own a bank, to have access to lucrative but confidential investment opportunities, and to be a “special agent” of the Federal Reserve. Thirty-one victims mailed or electronically transferred over $7 million to EDWARDS. He spent the money quickly, and when the victims started demanding payment, he blamed “the banking industry” and “the powers that be” for delaying payment from his phantom investments.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, and the Carrollton Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorneys William G. Traynor, Alana R. Black and Michael J. Brown prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.