News and Press Releases

Grand Jury Returns Indictment in Ron Wilson Ponzi Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2014

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that a Federal Grand Jury in Greenville, South Carolina, returned an Indictment alleging a conspiracy to obstruct justice and to hide assets in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The following individuals were charged in the indictment:

Ronnie Gene Wilson, age 67, of the Coleman Federal Corrections Institution in Sumterville, Florida;

Cassandra Kendall Wilson, age 66, of Woodruff, South Carolina; and

Timothy L. Wilson, age 60, of Martin, Tennessee.

In addition, Mr. Nettles said that Ronnie Gene Wilson was also charged with making false statements to federal agents in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.  

The maximum penalty the Defendants could face for the conspiracy charge is 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.  The maximum penalty Ronnie Gene Wilson could face for false statement charge is 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.  The case was investigated by agents of the United States Secret Service and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office for prosecution.

The United States Attorney stated that all charges in this Indictment are merely accusations, and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Mr. Nettles further stated that since the original charges brought against Wilson and Atlantic Bullion & Coin in 2012, three individuals have been convicted of charges related to the Ponzi and the hiding of assets. 

On February 26, 2014, Wallace Lindsey Howell, age 62, of Mauldin, South Carolina, was sentenced for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.  United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Greenville imposed a 12 month sentence and ordered Howell to pay $3.5 million in restitution.

On March 31, 2014, Benton T. Hall, age 22, of Mesa, Arizona, was sentenced for  conspiracy to obstruct justice, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.    United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Greenville imposed a 24 month sentence and ordered Hall to pay $172,000 in restitution.

On April 28, 2014, Gordon L. Hall, age 61, of Mesa, Arizona, was sentenced for conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud, violations of Tile 18 United States Code, Sections 371 and 1349.  United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Greenville imposed a 180 month sentence and ordered Hall to pay $172,000 in restitution.

By way of background, Benton T. Hall and Gordon L. Hall were co-conspirators with Wallace Lindsey Howell.  Howell recommended Wilson’s investment program to numerous people and received “commissions” from Wilson for investors he brought in.  The indictment charging Howell focused on two clients introduced to Wilson’s investment scheme by Howell.

In April 2006, Atlantic Bullion & Coin statements showed these two clients made a profit because of silver trades that Wilson allegedly had made.  (Of course, Wilson never made any real trades for any of his clients and was, in fact, operating a Ponzi scheme.)  Howell told Wilson that since the two clients belonged to Howell, Wilson should put the profits earned in a separate account in Howell’s name. Thus, Howell was able to steal money belonging to his clients.

Once Howell learned that Secret Service was investigating the Ponzi scheme, he sought assistance from Benton T. Hall and Gordon L. Hall in hiding assets that had been acquired with Ponzi money.  Howell was afraid that the federal receiver working to marshal assets related to the Wilson Ponzi fraud would “claw back” these assets so they could be distributed to the victims of the Ponzi scheme.

Howell transferred to the Halls approximately $1.5 million in property, gold and silver coins, equipment, and cash.  The Halls then worked to hide this money from the federal receiver and law enforcement.

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