Former Anderson County Councilman Ronnie Wilson was accused Wednesday of being part of a ponzi scheme, involving about $70 million.
The South Carolina Attorney General's Office released court documents that showed Wilson was named in a complaint against Atlantic Bullion and Coin, an Easley company he started in 1985.
According to the documents, Wilson duped investors across 25 states into thinking they were buying silver and making big profits. The documents said that in reality, Wilson never bought any precious metals and was paying investors' lofty dividends with other investors' money.
Ed Eskesen said he invested tens of thousands of dollars in Wilson's business, including all of his retirement money. He said Wilson seemed knowledgeable about silver and had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
"I hope he looks real hard when he goes in the door, and he looks at The Ten Commandments that he placed there, one of which is 'Thou shalt not steal,'" Eskesen said. "Any way you slice it, he stole."
The BBB dropped the rating after receiving a call from FOX Carolina about the allegations against Wilson's business. The organization said the business had the rating because no one ever complained about it.
On Thursday, the BBB's website said the business was not accredited. The website said "This business has no rating at this time because BBB file information is being reviewed and/or updated."
Court documents showed that in 1996 Wilson was ordered to stop selling securities as part of a cease and desist order. However, more documents showed that Wilson reestablished the company and continued selling silver-backed securities.
As part of the complaint, Wilson would be ordered to pay $10,000 for each securities violation, discontinue his business and release all investors' assets.
State prosecutors said they are looking into filing criminal charges against Wilson, but for now the case is a civil matter.
FOX Carolina tried to reach Wilson for comment, but was unsuccessful.
Thursday night, Secret Service agents raided his office, according to deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office.
While agents could not say what they were looking for or found, authorities said they were looking to see if any federal statutes were violated. The Secret Service said they want to talk with any of the business's clients as well.
"It is so important for the individuals to make contact with us so we can identify what was in fact happening," said Secret Service Agent Thomas Griffin. "So we can talk to those individuals and we can make our assessment based on fact, not what we're hearing through media sources."
The Anderson County Sheriff's Department was assisting in the investigation.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:47 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:47:39 GMT
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