Criminal investigations and lawsuits continue to follow a local businessman whose troubles range from North Carolina down to Florida. According to court papers and published reports, many investors have lost a significant amount of money. Neither the man nor his lawyers could be reached for comment.
The matter originated with a claim by Regions Bank that the businessman’s firm, along with a Florida investor, had committed fraud that resulted in a loss to the bank of almost $10 million and prompted the U.S. Secret Service to launch an inquiry. Other lawsuits and business disputes followed, alleging fraud and unpaid bills. Although the businessman has dropped out of sight, investigators say they know where to find him, and some think that may be Fayetteville or Greensboro.
Examples of investors that have lost money include a Florida man who lost $600,000, owners of a Taco Bell franchise who said they were owed $720,000, and a bank that alleges fraudulent checks and wire transfers were used to move more than $100 million around within bank accounts. It is also alleged that the businessman falsified records to make his financial condition look more appealing to investors and lenders. As a result, he could be faced with wire and mail fraud charges.
The federal grand jury investigation is centered on whether or not the businessman committed fraud by operating a Ponzi scheme, a process that continually takes in money from new investors, some of which is returned to original investors until no new money is available, causing the scheme to fall apart and the latest investors to lose their money. No federal indictments have been reported at this time.
Source: The Fayetteville Observer, “Investigations continue against scandal-plagued Fayetteville businessmen”, Paul Woolverton, December 08, 2013