CHOICES and CONSEQUENCES! As I begin each seminar on Ethics and White Collar Crime the words are “Every Choice has a Consequence!” That statement rings true again as Ronnie Gene Wilson, the mastermind behind a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme learned his fate in court – 20 years in federal prison.
Wilson was the president of Atlantic Bullion and Coin, and took money from investors who thought they were buying silver. According to Jason Durgin, U.S. Secret Service agent, 798 victims suffered an actual loss of $57,401,009. Ironically, Wilson said, at his sentencing, that two of the victims who invested money into his company were his brother, Tim Wilson, and his daughter.
According to a local news article:
Despite being a victim, Tim Wilson said in court that his brother “never intended to steal that money. (Ron Wilson) thought he could turn things around, and replace what was taken.”
Tim Wilson also said, “My whole life I haven’t seen anyone more broken than (Ron Wilson) is.”
Ron Wilson said he was brought up in church, and said it was about 10 years ago that he started “walking off the path” of which he’d been raised. “I finally got to where the beast I created got me,” Ron Wilson added in court.
Ron Wilson also said, “I ran this Ponzi scheme by myself. No one else knew anything about it.”
THE HUMAN IMPACT:
Rarely, when the first step is taken, do people who become fraudsters have any idea the impact of their choices – the human consequences so to speak. Seven victims spoke in court at Wilson’s sentencing hearing, many of them telling the judge that they had lost their entire savings.
One 76-year-old victim told the judge, “I have been reduced to refinancing my house in hopes that I can keep it.”
Another victim told Ron Wilson in court, “You are a despicable man.”
One more victim told the judge, “While Ron Wilson has been free on bond, we feel we’ve been on a financial life sentence.”
Wilson has said he will make full restitution, yet the likelihood of that is slim.
Reported in an article from WYFF4.com:
“I’m sure that justice was done. I think the judge was fine. She did a good job,” said victim Ray McNeely.
When asked about Ron Wilson’s apology, McNeely said, “The only thing he regrets is he got caught as far as I know.”
Virginia Ellisor said she lost $100,000 because of her investment with AB&C.
With assets being liquidated (at least those that can be found), it is unlikely that many of the hundreds of victims will be able to recoup their losses.
HOW DID THEY BECOME VICTIMS:
Truth be known…the path to victimhood is a slippery slop into the PIT. Let me clarify:
P = Promise — now my guess (and I suspect I am right on this, is that Wilson played to the fear and greed side of his victims. What? Yes…FEAR and GREED. The victims were promised that they needed to buy silver as a hedge against the coming economic collapse or some other promise – which also likely included some fabulous promise of a great return on their investment – or safety of their assets. PROMISES…PROMISES
I = Illusion — Like with any Ponzi scheme the first investors (oops victims) get some of their money back which is necessary to carry out the scheme. Some have to believe that it’s real for others to fall prey. In some cases, perhaps in Wilson’s or perhaps not, there are fake certificates or material that is distributed so that, again, the illusion is maintained.
T = Trust — Where does a Ponzi Scheme Fraudster begin? Easy! The beginning is with the people who trusts him/her the most. As you see from above Wilson even scammed his family.
If you were one of Wilson’s victims, feel free to share what happened that got you caught in his trap.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!