Statesville man arrested by FBI for running $44 million Ponzi Sc - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Statesville man arrested by FBI for running $44 million Ponzi Scheme, indictment says

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The operator of a $44 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 200 investors has been indicted on federal charges.

A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte returned the criminal indictment on Wednesday, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins' office.

Daniel H. Williford, 55, of Statesville, is charged with one count of securities fraud, one count of wire fraud, and five counts of money laundering.

The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking a money judgment in the amount of $44,000,000.

The indictment says Williford operated his scheme under the name Velocenet, Broadband Leasing, Connect, Inc.

"For years, Daniel Williford swindled hundreds of people, including his own co-workers out of their hard-earned money. While most people struggle to afford college, he paid those expenses using cash from his investors. Now he will be held accountable for his actions because of the agents and prosecutors who worked so diligently to bring him to justice," said John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina in the release.

According to allegations contained in the indictment, from January 2007 through July 2013, Williford induced over 200 investors in Charlotte and elsewhere to invest over $44 million, by promising his victims their money would be invested in wireless internet equipment, internet towers, and other facilities and companies.

Instead of investing the money, the indictment alleges, Williford used it to run a Ponzi-style scheme and to fund his personal lifestyle.

According to the indictment, during the course of the fraud, Williford invested only $7.7 million of the victims' money as promised.

The indictment alleges that Williford used approximately $32 million of the investor's money to cover personal expenses and to pay some of his victims supposed "profits" on their investments. However, these payouts came from funds contributed by new investors, known as "Ponzi" payments.

Williford has been ordered by the U.S. District Court to appear on a summons for his initial appearance, which will be scheduled by the Court.

If convicted, Williford faces a maximum of 20 years in prison each for the securities fraud and wire fraud counts, and a maximum of 10 years imprison for each of the money laundering counts, according to the release.

The securities fraud count carries a maximum fine of $5,000,000, the wire fraud count a maximum fine of $250,000, and each of the money laundering counts carries a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of criminally derived proceeds.

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