I didn't steal any money. If I had they would have arrested me and charged me long before my trip to Germany WHICH THEY COURT WAS AWARE OF. This isn't a spy novel. Anything that investigators are going to find has already been found. They aren't finding what they're looking for. Perhaps its time to recognize that maybe they can't find it while there is nothing to find!
- Joel Wilson, on newspaper comment board
A Michigan man who suddenly relocated to Germany as authorities closed in on his alleged $8.5 million Ponzi scheme has lost a bid to halt his extradition back to the United States to face criminal charges. Joel Wilson, of Saginaw, Michigan, is due to arrive back in the United States later this week from Frankfurt, Germany, where he has lived since late 2012. Wilson, whose wife was briefly jailed following accusations she lied to investigators, has been an active critic of authorities' investigation - even lashing out at authorities through the online comment section of a local newspaper. Wilson is set to be arraigned on Friday, May 16.
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. From Germany, Wilson allegedly made little effort to keep a low profile, making a variety of statements in the comment section of various articles published by his local newspaper. While the majority of those comments have since been removed, one comments he allegedly left in response to a January 2013 article summed up his feelings towards the investigation:
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 (sic) 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.