Former Anderson County Councilman Ronnie Gene Wilson has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison on mail fraud charges connected to the multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme investigators say he ran for years.
Wilson was sentenced to 19 and a half years in jail during a hearing held in Greenville this afternoon.
Earlier this year, Wilson entered a guilty plea to two counts of mail fraud filed against him in connection with the Ponzi scheme.
Investigators said Wilson bilked his silver investors about of $60 million in fradulent investments.
Wilson told investors he'd purchased silver holdings for them and that those purchases were being stored in a depository in Delaware.
When contacted by investigators, officials at the depository said they had no holdings for either Wilson or his business, Atlantic Bullion & Coin.
The Ponzi scheme defrauded over 800 investors in 25 states, prosecutors said.
Wilson ran the scheme for 11 years, investigators said.
The mail fraud charges stated Wilson “knowingly devised a scheme or used an artifice to defraud and used the United States mail in executing this scheme.”
Earlier this year, State Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a complaint against Wilson. Wilson also faces lawsuits and a federal civil enforcement action filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The action charges Wilson and AB&C with fraud in connection with operating a $90 million Ponzi scheme, and alleges that Wilson and AB&C violated the Commodity Exchange Act and CTFC regulations.
The agency's complaint charges that Section 6(c)1 of the CEA and CTFC's Regulation 180.1 (a), “prohibiting the use of any manipulative or deceptive device, scheme or contrivance to defraud in connection with a sale of contract of any commodity interstate commerce” were violated.
After the sentencing, Wilson was placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals.
Last month, a Mauldin man was indicted in connection with the scheme.
Wallace Lindsey Howell, 60, is alleged to have conspired with Wilson to siphon profits from two investors that Howell brought to Wilson and to Atlantic Bullion & Coin.
Howell’s AB&C account was funded by profits transferred from the victims’ accounts, and, over time, Howell withdrew over $3 million for his own use, according to a release.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office upped the ante against Howell, announcing a grand jury had handed down a 3-count "superseding indictment" against Howell alleging conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
If convicted, Howell could receive 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.