Ronnie “Ron” Gene Wilson – 20 Years in Federal Prison for Upstate SC Ponzi Scheme – How did 798 People become Victims: Comments by Chuck Gallagher Business Ethics and Fraud Prevention Expert

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.

BUY GOLD and SILVER.  If you’ve lived long enough to have weathered a recession or two, you know the drill.  The sky is falling and you need to put your money into a hard commodity.

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.”


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

“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.


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.


Accused of Money Laundering – Marco Antonio Delgado – A Prominent Texas Attorney faces his day in Court!

These are not the headlines that are noted for generating new business – unless you’re dealing with the shady side of business.  I can’t help but envision the attorney featured prominently in the TV series – “Breaking Bad”…  Surely this is not a real life example of that or is it?

Marco Antonio Delgado, 46, a prominent Texas attorney and former Carnegie Mellon University trustee faced charges this past week of laundering more than $600 million for a Mexican drug cartel.  He was arrested on November 2 at a restaurant in El Paso.

“Delgado is linked to a drug cartel based in Guadalajara, Mexico, and accused of conspiring to launder more than $600 million,” investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement.

Facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted, Delgado had been active in the local community as he was a member of the board at the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and once donated more than $20,000 to the organization, according to a CNN report.

Ruth Jacobson, executive director of the symphony, told CNN affiliate KFOX that she was “surprised and saddened” by the arrest.

Keeping in mind that one is innocent till proven guilty, his lawyer said Delgado was innocent.

“You know, he is a brother (fellow) attorney and I’m honored to represent him and we’ll go from there,” lawyer Jose Montes told KFOX.

The Huffington Post reported the following:

A recently unsealed indictment doesn’t provide details on how Delgado planned to carry out the scheme, though details could be revealed during a bond hearing Wednesday, when prosecutors try to convince a judge to keep Delgado in jail.

An ABC News article shares the following:

By his own account, Delgado even dabbled in Mexican politics. A biography recently pulled from the university’s website said Delgado took leave from his professional activities to join Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign in early 2012, and that he was currently part of his transition team.

Eduardo Sanchez, a spokesman for the transition team, said they had never heard of Delgado and pointed to the group’s website, which doesn’t list Delgado as a member. Such teams are tasked by the president-elect to meet with current officials and gather information to assure a smooth transition between administrations.

“Clearly this person is not part of the team. We don’t know him,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also ruled out the possibility that Delgado could have served as an adviser to Pena Nieto, or worked on or raised funds for his campaign.

As to why Delgado would provide such information to the university, Sanchez speculated that “criminals normally say things that are not true.”


  1. Is it possible that Delgado is innocent and the subject of over zealous federal prosecutors who don’t like his work as an attorney?
  2. Is it possible that Delgado’s generosity is nothing more than a way to cover his tracks in the alleged money laundering operation?
  3. Is it possible for Delgado to get a fair trial?


SCAM ALERT – Publishers Clearing House – Pittiful attempt at an Email Scam!

With the Holiday Season upon us it seems that scammers are coming out of the woodwork so to speak and the quality of the scam attempt is just pathetic!  This latest scam attempt is from the Publishers Clearing House (at least so they say).  Now ask yourself the following…if you had just won $1 million from the Publishers Clearing House, would they really send you the announcement via an email?

Here’s the content of the email!

Congratulations, your email address has won ($1,000,000.00USD) in the on
going Publishers Clearing House lotto draw that was held today, please
fill details below for claims. Email us back:

Hum…my email address has won.  Wow!  I didn’t know that email addresses could enter and win things.  Silly me – I should have known that chuck @ had a mind of its own and had been entering sweepstakes when I was not writing or using the computer.

Name in full:.. Address:… Sex:.. Occupation:.. Present

Name in full (not going to give it) – Address (well if I had entered you’d have that now wouldn’t you)Sex (oh how I want to say “not often enough” – but then I’d be lying) Occupation:  SCAM BUSTER!  (I’ll share that proudly) – Present Country (The country that just elected Obama President for a 2nd term) Telephone (828.244.1400 – oh please call me so I can record your scam attempt as you then will have another count of wire fraud).

!!!Once Again Congratulations!!!

Mrs.Reyna Cruz
Online Co-Ordinator
Email: Now we both know that is a BS email address designed to catch greedy unsuspecting folks who fall for crap like this.

They say there’s a sucker born every day.  Well maybe with these SCAM ALERTS we can help folks from falling victim to idiots like these folk.


Certified Public Accountant – Dennis Duban – Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS.

Dennis Duban, a Los Angeles-based accountant and tax return preparer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and assisting in the filing of a false federal income tax return.  Facing penalties up to five year imprisonment for conspiracy and three years for filing a false return, Duban will be sentenced on April 18, 2013.

Duban was a Certified Public Accountant who ran an accounting firm called Duban Sattler and Associates, LLP (formerly Duban Accountancy, LLP), in Los Angeles, California. Duban provided accounting and tax planning services to Hawaii residents Charles Alan Pflueger, James Pflueger, and some of the Hawaii-based entities they controlled, including Pflueger, Inc. and Pflueger Properties.

Beginning as early as 2003, Duban knew that personal expenses of Pflueger, Inc. owner Charles Alan Pflueger were being paid for by Pflueger, Inc. and illegally deducted on corporate income tax returns as business expenses. Duban also knew that some personal expenses of another co-defendant were being paid for and illegally deducted by Pflueger, Inc.

In preparing tax returns for Charles Alan Pflueger and another co-defendant from at least 2003 to 2006, Duban did not include as additional items of income all personal expenses of which he was aware were paid for by Pflueger, Inc. and constituted income to the taxpayers.

In connection with the 2007 sale of Hacienda, a San Diego, California investment property owned by Pflueger Properties, Duban agreed with another co-defendant to file a false Pflueger Properties 2007 partnership income tax return and false individual income tax return which falsely reported the gain on the sale of the property, which sold for $27,500,000. In particular, Duban reported the basis of Hacienda as approximately $7 million higher than its actual basis.

Prior to the sale of the Hacienda property, Duban and others assisted the same co-defendant in creating a nominee Cook Islands trust and opening a bank account at Wegelin Bank in Switzerland in the name “Southpac Trustee International, Inc., as Trustee of the Vista Pacifica Trust.” Proceeds of the Hacienda sale, over $14 million, were sent to the Wegelin account. Duban and a New York-based firm served as investment managers for the account. Duban and the co-defendant did not timely report the co-defendant’s beneficial interest in the Swiss account on Schedule B of a Form 1040 individual income tax return or by filing a Report of Foreign Bank Account (“FBAR”).

Duban had an interest in other foreign bank accounts that he failed to properly report to the government. For at least 2006 and 2007, Duban failed to report his interest in at least one New Zealand account, held in the name of Lookout Point Limited, on Schedule B of his individual income tax returns or by filing an FBAR.

As part of the plea agreement filed in connection with his guilty plea, Duban admitted that the tax loss associated with his criminal conduct is at least $1 million. He agreed to pay a 50 percent penalty for the one year with the highest balance in his undisclosed New Zealand accounts in order to resolve his civil liability for failing to file FBARs, Forms TD F 90-22.1.

In May 2012, Charles Alan Pflueger, Randall Kurata, and Julie Kam, who were charged in the same indictment, pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns regarding improper payments of personal expenses by Pflueger, Inc. and another entity. The remaining defendant charged in the indictment, James Pflueger, is currently set for trial before Judge Kobayashi on February 12, 2013.

United Steelworkers Union staff Representative – Robert J. Misuraca – gets Probation for Credit Card Misuse!

A resident of Corning, New York, Robert J. Miscuaca, 53, has been sentenced in federal court to one year probation on his conviction of union embezzlement.

According to information presented to the court, Misuraca, a Staff Representative of the International Union of United Steelworkers, stole more than $17,000 from the union by charging personal expenses to the union credit card over the five-year period from Feb. 3, 2005 to Jan. 20, 2010.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Fischer stated that defendant’s misuse of a union credit card was a serious offense, since he had violated his fiduciary duty to dues-paying members. However, a term of probation was appropriate due to his otherwise productive prior life and Misuraca’s remorse for embarrassing his family and the labor movement.

Remorse for embarrassing his family and the labor movement?  Really?


SCAM ALERT! Verify Your Identity! NOT! Don’t fall prey to stupid internet scams!

Guess you could say I’m just one of the lucky one, but it seems that I am so popular that scammers contact me daily.  Here’s but a sample of what I received today.  Mind you, I have no idea who sent this and have no relationship with the bank in question.  I am nothing more than an email address to a fisherman of fools…some of whom fall for crap like this.  Here’s the email.

Dear Valued Customer,  Wait I’m not a customer of yours!  But who cares you are just looking for that one person who will fall for your weak attempt at fraud.  Of course, there’s a sucker born every day…so I suppose this works…sadly.

Co-operative Bank has been receiving complaints from our customers for
unauthorised use of the Co-operative Online banking accounts. As a result
we are making an extra security check on all of our Customers account
in order to protect their information from theft and fraud.  Good attempt here to instill fear and doubt thereby opening the door for folks to let their guard down and take the scam bait.

Due to this, Attached to this message is a document that contains all
neccessary account details needed, you are requested to follow the provided
steps and confirm your Online Banking details for the safety of your Accounts.  Hum…TAKE NOT – DO NOT…I REPEAT DO NOT…open any attachments from an email like this.  Either they want you to give them identify information so they can steal from you or there is some malware or virus attached that could infect your computer and thereby give them access to sensitive data.

However, Failure to do so may result in temporary account suspension.
Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect
you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.  Temporary Account Suspension – now how can they do that when I have no account with them.  This language is designed to once again instill fear and cause someone to share identifying date.  Don’t believe this crap!

Account Management
Co-operative Bank
Code #93169148

BE ADVISED … this is a crock of crap!


SCAM ALERT – The Debit Card Dilemma! Consumers be ware this Holiday Shopping Season!

As Americans we are facing, both individually and Nationally, the dilemma of how to pay off debt!  The Federal Government, well, that seems to be a hopeless cause – at least for now, but individual American’s – that’s another story.

With the onset of the economic recession, more and more Americans began to see the misery that too much debt or frankly any debt creates.  As a result, debt slowly began to decrease.  Americans began using their Debit Cards (non credit based plastic) as a means of paying for what they consumed.  Frankly that made since as it was a way to pay with cash vs what we had become hooked on prior – credit.

Yea for Debit Cards.  Oops…until the banks recognized that they didn’t make as much money off of debit card use vs credit card us.  Change the message!  Banks then began to promote the use of credit – why? – cause they made more money!

Now as a White Collar Crime Speaker and Fraud Prevention Expert, I would be the first to tell you don’t use credit.  There is nothing good that comes from expensive consumer credit.  Well….I would tell you that until now.  The Frausters have caught up with the mighty debit card and now we need to rethink our beloved debit cards use!

An article appeared in USA Today that ironically was in line with a SCAM Alert I was getting ready to post on Debit Cards.  The full article can be read here.  Parts are reproduced below and make for great reading about why we need to protect our debit cards.

From USA Today: Jeff Hall directs the information-security practice at tax and risk consultancy McGladrey. He has more than 30 years of experience assisting companies of all sizes with information-security issues. In an interview with USA TODAY, Hall confirmed that ATM fraud using counterfeit debit cards and stolen personal identification numbers is occurring more often than the general public realizes. And he outlined what companies and consumers should do about it.

Q: To what extent are data thieves in the hunt for payment registers in department stores, supermarkets, professional services offices — anywhere payment checkout terminals are used and not closely guarded?

A: Criminals are scouting vulnerable venues. We are aware of a number of private instances where payment terminals and point-of-sales registers have been tampered with to obtain credit card and other data. The concern extends to data networks, medical devices, automobiles, TV sets — essentially any electronic device. All electronic devices today run some sort of operating system. As such, they can all be misused if the right person can insert themselves into the process at the right point.

Q: Why are they increasingly focusing on debit card mag stripe data, account numbers and PINs?

A: Debit cards are tied directly to someone’s bank account. As a result, there is typically a high likelihood of tapping into a large amount of cash quickly. Mag stripe data is fairly easy to come by. If you have complete mag stripe data with a PIN, you can completely impersonate the real card.

Q: What should consumers do? 

A: Consumers should use credit cards and stop using debit cards. However, that means consumers will need to be diligent in paying off the balance of their cards every month. Debit cards are risky because the government has not put the same loss restrictions on them that they have for credit cards. Consumer groups have been lobbying for these types of restrictions for the last few years, but that is likely to come to an end in the next year or two as state governments and/or the federal government respond.

NOTICE:  The advice is to stop using debit cards.  I have to admit I do agree with Jeff Hall related to the aspect that debit cards do not have the protection that credit cards might have.  To that end, I elect to use my debit card still, but pay attention to where I use them.  For example, I will use credit (on the debit card) when possible so I don’t have to reveal my pin.  That, to me, is the best of both worlds.  I can pay with cash (by using the debit card) but not reveal my PIN.

If you have been the victim of debit/credit card fraud, perhaps you’d care to comment.