Feds make 2nd arrest in Wilson's Ponzi scheme - FOX Carolina 21

Feds make 2nd arrest in Wilson's Ponzi scheme

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Wallace Howell leaves a federal court building in Greenville. (Oct. 11, 2012/FOX Carolina) Wallace Howell leaves a federal court building in Greenville. (Oct. 11, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Ronnie Wilson enters the Federal Courthouse in Greenville. (July 30, 2012/FOX Carolina) Ronnie Wilson enters the Federal Courthouse in Greenville. (July 30, 2012/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Federal agents arrested a second man Tuesday in connection with a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $60 million.

Investigators said that Atlantic Bullion and Coin, a company run by former Anderson County Councilman Ronnie Wilson, duped more than 900 investors across 25 states into thinking they were buying silver and making big profits. They said Wilson never bought any precious metals and was paying investors' lofty dividends with other investors' money.

Wilson, 65, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of mail fraud as part of a plea deal.

On Tuesday, federal agents arrested Wallace Lindsey Howell, 60, in connection with the same scheme. He was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

According to an indictment, Howell worked with Wilson to defraud investors of nearly $3.5 million.

Howell appeared in federal court Thursday morning where he refused to acknowledge the charge against him and would not answer the judge's questions. The judge ordered that he be held without bond until he cooperates and acknowledges the charge.

In court, an attorney said there are at least 1,000 victims of the Ponzi scheme. There are so many victims in Greenville County, an investigator from the sheriff's office has been assigned to the case full time. There are also victims in at least 25 states.

Authorities said they are looking for anyone else who may have been associated with Wilson.

"I want to make clear to everyone out there, our investigation is not complete," sad Thomas Griffin with the U.S. Secret Service's Greenville office. "If you were an associate of Mr. Wilson's, I would keep in mind what happened to Mr. Howell yesterday, his arrest and please remember we are not done with our investigation."

To date, an attorney has taken possession of the assets of Atlantic Bullion and Coin. He will liquidate the assets and distribute the proceeds to the victims of the scheme.

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