Authorities arrested a second individual in connection with a $60 million Ponzi scheme that ranks as one of the largest in South Carolina’s history. Wallace Howell, 60, was indicted and later taken into custody yesterday on the charge that he conspired to commit mail fraud in a $60 million Ponzi scheme masterminded by Ronnie Wilson that purported to profit off silver trading. Wilson was arrested earlier this year, and pleaded guilty in July to two counts of mail fraud.
Beginning in 2004, Howell is believed to have been involved with Wilson’s scheme as a promoter, touting the venture to investors as a lucrative opportunity. Indeed, according to the Independent Mail, a South Carolina newspaper, many investors submitted questionnaires indicating that they became aware of the scheme through Howell. However, likely unbeknownst to investors, Howell would later receive millions of dollars from Wilson as payback for the referrals. This included nearly $3.5 million in “profits” realized by Wilson in trading for two investor accounts. According to the indictment, Howell “instructed” Wilson to transfer those profits into his own account, which Howell later withdrew. If true, the allegations would also likely constitute violations of federal securities laws if Howell was not licensed to offer or sell securities or investment advisory services in South Carolina.
A receiver has since been appointed to recover funds for victim’s of Wilson’s scheme. Wilson faces up to twenty years in prison when he is sentenced.
The Receiver’s website is here.