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Thursday, January 23, 2014

OFF THE LAM: Michigan Man Suspected of Ponzi Scheme Arrested in Germany

Miss Fortune brought you the story of Saginaw resident Joel I. Wilson back on March 21, 2013, revealing that Wilson was looking for donations to his "legal fund"...an effort he launched from Dresden, Germany while on the lam.

Well, lam no more, baby! 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced yesterday that Joel Wilson, 31, was arrested by Dresden police on Jan. 20.

Wilson, who faces charges for defrauding at least three Michigan victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, fled to Germany as investigators closed in on his operation in late 2012, a media release from Schuette’s office states.

Schuette filed multiple criminal charges against Wilson in January 2013 and worked with federal officials to issue a warrant for his arrest in Europe.

Schuette’s office received notification from Interpol on Tuesday that Wilson had been arrested by European law enforcement. Schuette has filed paperwork to begin the extradition process.

Beginning in 2009, Wilson is charged with scamming investors through his operation of The Diversified Group Advisory Fund LLC, an investment company. Investors were told that their funds would be used to purchase distressed properties in the Saginaw and Bay City area. The properties would later be refurbished and sold for profit, which would go to the investors.

When funds collected from the sales of the unregistered securities failed to turn a profit, Wilson is charged with using new investor funds to pay returns to previous investors — the trademark of a Ponzi scheme. He is accused of pocketing approximately $47,000 of the investment funds to pay his personal expenses and acquire personal assets.

The following charges were filed against Wilson in the Bay County District Court: one count each of continuing a criminal enterprise, larceny by conversion of $20,000 or more, and larceny by conversion between $1,000 and $20,000; and three counts each of sale of unregistered securities and fraudulent sale of securities.
After Schuette filed charges against Wilson, additional victims came forward with allegations against Wilson and the Diversified Group. Wilson may face additional charges pending the outcome of investigation into those cases.

“Victims of scam artists deserve to see justice served, and we will fight as long as it takes,” Schuette stated in the release. “Financial exploitation is a growing crime in Michigan, and we are cracking down on these con artists. Be skeptical of anyone who promises huge returns for a small investment.”

Hmm...wonder who else the AG might be talking about, eh?

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