The wife of a suspected Ponzi schemer on the lam is facing criminal charges in Michigan after authorities alleged that she provided misleading information to investigators about the whereabouts of her husband. M. Viktoria Wilson, 24, was charged with a single count of lying to a police officer during the investigation of a crime, which carries a four-year maximum prison sentence. Authorities allege she lied to investigators during a January 8, 2013 interview in which authorities were attempting to determine the location of her husband, Joel Wilson, who has been charged with running a real estate Ponzi scheme that raised nearly $7 million from over 100 investors. Joel Wilson, who is currently believed to be living in Germany, faces numerous felony charges in connection with the scheme.
According to authorities, Joel Wilson operated Diversified Group Partnership Management, LLC and American Realty Funds Corporation. Beginning in 2009, investors were solicited to invest with Wilson's companies, with Wilson allegedly promising annual returns of nearly 10% that were obtained through the purchase, renovation, and resale of real estate in Bay City, Michigan. Investors were told that they would be repaid with the payments made by the purchasers of the renovated houses. In all, approximately 120 investors entrusted Wilson and Diversified Group with nearly $7 million.
However, authorities allege that Wilson's real estate businesses simply did not raise enough money to pay the returns promised to investors. Wilson did not disclose these facts to investors, and instead used new investor funds to pay these purported "profits". Additionally, over $500,000 was used to support Wilson's lavish lifestyle, including:
- $75,000 to purchase a rival securities broker;
- $35,000 on his wife’s business,
- $7,914 to buy Detroit Red Wings tickets,
- $13,160 to purchase tickets and sponsor the Saginaw Sting, a professional indoor football team, and
- $46,780 on travel.
In January 2013, Wilson was charged with multiple felonies, including racketeering, selling unregistered securities, larceny, fraudulent sale of securities, and conversion. If convicted of all charges, Wilson could face decades in prison. However, before the charges were unveiled, Wilson had moved to Germany, where he remains today. He has remained defiant in maintaining his innocence, including his active presence on online newspaper comment boards taunting authorities. While authorities have suggested that efforts are underway for Wilson to return to the United States to face the charges, Wilson has indicated he plans to remain in Germany, as evidenced by this quote attributed to him:
I guess now is as good a time as any to let the world know I will not be returning from Germany. I have developed an intense and irreconciable hatred for what America has become. Fascists run rampant and unchecked. An opiated populous continues to vote away more and more freedom. Freedom will die in my lifetime. I'm going to do what I can from here to try and wake up as many people as I can and try and prepare as best as I can for the long dark night that is coming. If my words hold weight, begin your own preparations. A 30 year old man has just been turned into a slave. Sure there are no chains, but I opened an account in Germany two weeks ago. The US government knew about it. They are not made of iron, but these chains are just as real.
A copy of the SEC's complaint is here.