Former Owner of Preserve Financial Group Pleads Guilty in Insurance Fraud Scheme
Defrauded Victims out of More Than $700,000, including the Elderly and Those in Poor Physical or Mental Health
John O. Wilson, 53, of Antioch, Tenn., pleaded guilty today to two counts of wire fraud, in connection with a fraudulent insurance/investment scheme, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
At a plea hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp, Wilson admitted that from August 2005 to November 2014, he devised and engaged in a scheme to defraud and obtain money from his clients and various insurance agencies by making material false representations and using interstate wires to further his scheme. During this period of time, Wilson, a licensed insurance provider in Tennessee, was the owner and operator of an insurance agency known as Preserve Financial Group, Inc. (“PFG”) located in the metropolitan Nashville area. Wilson admitted to operating his fraudulent scheme in at least three ways:
First, in order to obtain increased commissions, Wilson would advise clients to remove their money from their existing tax-deferrable investments and purchase multiple insurance policies. In doing so, Wilson would not disclose to his clients the consequences of the repeated investments including adverse tax consequences and substantial surrender charges.
Second, Wilson would convince some clients to surrender insurance policies or annuities to him for investment in another insurance policy or annuity. Instead of investing the money as promised, Wilson would cause these funds to be deposited into the PFG bank account he controlled, and he would then use the funds primarily for his own benefit.
Third, Wilson would convince some clients to surrender insurance policies or annuities by deceiving them into believing they were investing in PFG by purchasing stock in the company. In truth, there was no such stock and instead, the money was deposited into the PFG account, which was then used primarily for Wilson’s own personal benefit.
Wilson faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charges. He also faces a criminal fine of up to $250,000, forfeiture of criminal proceeds, and he will be ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Wilson will be sentenced by Chief Judge Sharp on November 23, 2016. His sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra G. Moses and Thomas J. Jaworski.