Victims of one of the largest financial frauds in South Carolina history are set to receive an initial distribution from the efforts of a court-appointed receiver that will result in a 19.22% recovery of their losses. Beattie Ashmore, the court-appointed receiver, announced that victims of Ronnie Wilson's $60 million Ponzi scheme will soon receive their pro rata portion of $7 million in recovered funds through a distribution approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The Receiver's use of a "rising tide" method of distribution means that distributions will only be made to victims who received 19.22% or less of their net investment back through payments or returns.
Wilson operated Atlantic Bullion & Coin, Inc., ("ABC") for at least a decade, representing to potential investors that they could realize profits from ownership of silver without having to actually physically possess the silver. To accomplish this, Wilson purported to purchase and warehouse silver on behalf of investors. Investors were told that their silver would be held in safe-keeping at a Delaware depository, and were provided with regular account statements allegedly showing regular appreciation in their holdings. In total, Wilson raised approximately $90 million from over 1000 investors in 25 states.
However, in reality, Wilson used the majority of investor funds not for the purchase of silver, but to perpetrate a massive Ponzi scheme in which "profits" paid to existing investors were simply the re-distribution of incoming investor funds. While investors were told that Wilson kept nearly $17 million of silver at a Delaware depository, they later discovered that the depository had never heard of Wilson. Of the $90 million raised from investors, authorities and the court-appointed receiver have since pegged investor losses at approximately $60 million. The receiver previously forecast a dim possibility of a meaningful recovery. Wilson was sentenced to a 19-year prison term.
Investors can expect at least one additional distribution given that the Receiver continues to pursue approximately 25 "clawback" suits seeking the return of false profits from net winner investors. Other seized assets also remain for sale, including a 75 acre parcel of land east of Woodruff, South Carolina.