Photo Credit By fviggiani Courtesy of Morguefile (Stacks of Money)
American Greed is a true crime series on CNBC. I watched it tonight while looking for something on television.
The show tells about corporate and white collar crimes in America including embezzlement, identity, theft, money laundering and many other crimes. The show I watched tonight was two true stories of investment scam fraud artists who conned unwitting victims into giving them millions upon millions of dollars to invest.
One story was of a man named Ron Wilson. Ron Wilson was a well-respected city council member who also owned a silver investment firm. He was also on the South Carolina Board of Education and a former national commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. If you couldn't trust this man, who could you trust?
Wilson doctored investment statements sent out each month to investors showing a large return on their investments. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, after all, the price of silver was rising. The amount of their investments on the balance sheet was correct, so no one was the wiser. He ran this scheme for over ten years, never once buying an ounce of silver with the investor's money.
Then, a woman noticed a discrepancy on her father's statement. Her father was in his 90s. It showed a lesser amount of silver than he actually had. This prompted her to contact authorities. Wilson was questioned by the secret service and he claimed it was just an accounting error. He was let go but then later authorities wanted to see the silver. Of course, there was none. The vault where the silver allegedly was contained was empty. In April of 2012, Ron Wilson was arrested and went along very quietly. He must have known what was coming. He is now serving a 19 1/2 year sentence in federal prison. In his investment scam that he had ran successfully for almost a decade, he defrauded over $50 million from almost 800 investors.
Most of these people were older and this was the money they were going to retire on. When Wilson came out of the courtroom he said he had cleared his conscience. How I wonder? It is true, some people will do anything for money.
I don't think I will ever trust an investment service with my money, that is, if I ever did have any to invest.