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Press Release

Former Schoolteacher & Ponzi Scheme Operator Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced Carl David Wright, 54, of Iron Station, N.C., to serve four years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for stealing more than $1 million from investors, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Conrad also ordered Wright to pay $817,975 as restitution to his victim investors.

Thomas L. Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and B.W. Colier, Acting Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Wright was a schoolteacher who solicited investors to invest more than one million dollars in a Ponzi scheme that Wright claimed was a purported “Commodity Investment Group” based in Cherryville, N.C. From August 2008 through March 2013, Wright told investors that he managed the Commodity Investment Group for the purpose of investing in hedge funds, commodities, and Quick Trip service stores. In reality, Wright invested no victim money in anything resembling hedge funds, commodities, or service stores and diverted most victim money to pay supposed returns to other victim investors, commonly referred to as a Ponzi scheme. According to court documents, Wright diverted other victim money to support his lifestyle. Court records show that Wright often siphoned off a large percentage of victim money in cash immediately upon the initial deposit. Indeed, Wright was known at times to carry a significant amount of cash in a black duffel bag, court records indicate. When the scheme collapsed in 2013, Wright had less than $1,000, causing losses to victims of more than half a million dollars. Wright pleaded guilty in July 2013 to one count of mail fraud.

Following the sentencing hearing, Wright was permitted to remain on bond and will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was handled by USPIS and SBI. U.S. Attorney Tompkins also thanked the Commodities Futures Trading Commission for their invaluable assistance in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Meyers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

Updated March 19, 2015