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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 27, 2018

Gainesville man charged with bilking his former brokerage firm clients with biofuel scheme

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Winston Wade Turner has been indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with mail and wire fraud for making false representations to investors in a biofuel scheme.

“Turner allegedly pitched a biofuel scheme to former clients he met through reputable brokerage firms,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Alternative energy sources like biofuel are sometimes a cover used by the unscrupulous to prey on investors seeking to put money in a potentially growing field. Turner is accused of luring investors with promises of immediate and profitable returns in a biofuel producer, which turned out to be a shell company of his own invention.” 

“This defendant is alleged to have preyed on seniors and retirees who were simply looking for safe and secure returns on their hard earned investments,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will continue to vigorously pursue those individuals who use false promises to capitalize financially at the expense of unsuspecting investors.”   

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Beginning in July 2015, Turner represented to investors that he was a broker for “North American Bio Fuel,” a purported biofuel producer based in Bradenton, Florida.  Turner encouraged his victims, former clients from his previous employment at Metlife Securities, Inc. and Prudential, to invest funds in North American Bio Fuel.  In conversations with investors and later through a website, Turner represented that the company was an “up and coming company” already producing biofuel, at a time when it was in fact only a shell company.  The indictment alleges that Turner caused, and attempted to cause, wire transfers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims for investment into this company and that Turner used investor funds for personal and other corporate purposes.

Turner, 48, of Jefferson, Georgia, was arraigned in federal court on April 26, 2018, and entered a not guilty plea.  Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains an allegation of criminal conduct. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charge and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Hall County Fire Services.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Pearce is prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated April 27, 2018