Conway Pastor Pleads Guilty to Ponzi and Structuring Scheme
Contact Person: Bill Day (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Archie Larue Evans, age 42, of Aynor, South Carolina, pled guilty this week in federal court in Florence, to mail fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, and conspiracy to structure transactions with a financial institution, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Evans is a farmer and was the pastor of Tilley Swamp Baptist Church located in Conway, South Carolina. Evans also owned a limited liability corporation, Gold & Silver, LLC. Beginning in 2004, members of the congregation of the Tilley Swamp Baptist Church and others entered into investment contracts with Evans and Gold & Silver, LLC., which promised the investors much higher interest payments than the rate being paid by financial institutions. From January 2009 to October 2011, Evans hid the fact that he had lost or spent the money invested with him by paying investors what he claimed to be their earned interest payments using funds he received from new investors. The new investors’ money was used not only to pay quarterly interest payments to the prior investors but also to pay Evans’ personal expenses and to cover his trading losses. Evans caused losses to his investors in excess of $2,500,000.00.
Evans also pled guilty to conspiracy to structure currency deposits with Anderson Brothers Bank and First Citizens Bank, both in Conway, from May 2010 until October 2011. The deposits were structured in order to avoid the bank’s reporting requirements so that Evans’ and others’ income would not be reported. Evans opened three checking accounts with Anderson Brothers Bank and structured deposits in excess of $500,000.00 through the accounts. Evans structured approximately $340,000.00 into the accounts he had with First Citizens Bank.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Evans can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.
The case was investigated by agents of the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II, of the Florence office handled the case.