Federal Government
Wake Forest Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 03 August 2020 10:45
A Wake Forest, NC man pleaded guilty today to wire fraud. Anthony Wayne March, 49 years old, operated the non-profit 501(c)(3) entity Asset Trader, located in Rolesville, NC, between 2012 to 2015.  March represented that Asset Trader offered educational services to professionals and taxpayers in the area of exit planning.  Asset Trader’s stated educational mission allowed it to obtain classification as a 28 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.   Asset Trader used its §501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to solicit tax-deductible donations in exchange for charitable gift annuities (“CGAs”) and to recruit referral sources to obtain assets from potential donors.  Through Asset Trader, March and his co-conspirators engaged in and executed what is commonly known as a “Ponzi” scheme to defraud investors by inducing them to invest with Asset Trader.
  
During the course of the scheme, March solicited at least 22 victims to invest over $8,100,000 in charitable gift annuities and other products offered by Asset Trader.  March and Asset Trader sold these securities to victims as retirement or exit planning vehicles classified as donations to March’s § 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.  March did not utilize any of the victim’s money for charitable purposes; rather, he spent the money on “Ponzi” payments, his own lavish lifestyle, and expenses of the scheme.
 
March pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to wire fraud and faces up to twenty years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced during the court’s November 3, 2020 term. 
 
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank accepted the plea. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and the North Carolina Secretary of State, Securities Division conducted the investigation in this matter.  The Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Administrator for the Eastern District of North Carolina provided substantial assistance.  Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes, Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian Behr, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Harrington represent the United States.  
 
 
Drug And Firearm Convictions Send Oxford Man To Federal Prison For 15 Years PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Donna Martinez   
Friday, 31 July 2020 09:57

An Oxford man was sentenced today to 180 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack) and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

According to court documents, the Oxford Police Department (OPD) received complaints of drug distribution activity at the residence of Thurston Darius Bobbitt, 37, in Oxford.  As a result, OPD utilized a confidential informant to purchase crack cocaine from Bobbitt at the residence.  A search warrant executed at Bobbitt’sresidence and vehicle yielded a quantity of crack cocaine, digital scales, two firearms, ammunition, cell phones, and U.S. currency.  In total, Bobbittwas held accountable for possession and/or distribution of over a kilogram of crack cocaine.  Bobbitt had previously been convicted of a felony for which he received a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. 

 

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Oxford Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Dodson prosecuted the case

 
Fayetteville Men Indicted For Arson Of Fayetteville Market House PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 June 2020 13:27

A federal grand jury returned indictments today charging two Fayetteville men with the arson of the City of Fayetteville’s Market House, a National Historic Landmark.

According to the indictments, Charles Anthony Pittman, 32, and Andrew Salvarani Garcia-Smith, 32, took part in the burning of the Market House after the peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd turned violent.

Several local news outlets filmed Pittman carrying around a red gasoline container on the second story of the Market House.  Pittman proceeded to pour the gasoline throughout the second story of the Market House, which was then set on fire.  Prior to any protests, Pittman posted a video on social media discussing his plans to bring the Market House down.

Authorities identified Garcia-Smith after he reported to a local hospital with several burn injuries as a result his actions.  Garcia-Smith threw a bottle of burning liquid into the Market House.  As he did so, the burning liquid spilled back onto him—setting Garcia-Smith’s hair and clothes ablaze.  A social media video of the incident went viral, as several news outlets showed Garcia-Smith running down the steps of the Market House engulfed in flames.  

Pittman and Garcia-Smith are each charged with the malicious burning of a building owned or possessed by an entity receiving Federal assistance. If convicted, both Pittman and Garcia-Smith face mandatory minimum sentences of 7 years in prison. 

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Fayetteville Police Department are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Rhoades and J.D. Koesters are prosecuting the case.

 
Wake Forest Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement At Credit Union PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 June 2020 13:23

A Wake Forest man pleaded guilty today to theft and embezzlement from a credit union.

According to court documents, Johnnie Earl Harrell, 47, served as branch manager of a credit union located in Zebulon, NC.  From 2008 to 2019, Harrell exploited his position to steal and embezzle at least $645,000 in funds belonging to the credit union and its customers. Among Harrell’s victims were individuals convinced by Harrell to rollover existing retirement accounts into annuities.  Harrell never purchased the annuities, but instead converted the funds to personal use.  Harrell prepared fraudulent annuity account statements that were periodically presented to victims to preclude detection of the theft.

Harrell pleaded guilty to theft and embezzlement from a credit union and faces up to thirty years in prison when he is sentenced during the court’s November or December term.

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Jones accepted the plea. The United States Department of Homeland Security, the North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations, and the Zebulon Police Department are investigating the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Toby Lathan is prosecuting the case.

 

 
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