Defendant Tries To Bring Gun To Sentencing Hearing For $2.5 Million Ponzi Scheme

A South Carolina pastor that admitted to operating a $2.5 million Ponzi scheme is accused of trying to bring a gun to his sentencing hearing - a hearing that he had twice tried to delay.  Archie Evans, 42, was scheduled to learn his fate before U.S. District Judge R. Bryan Harwell after pleading guilty last January to one charge of mail fraud and one charge of unlawful structuring of financial transactions.  However, as Evans passed through x-ray screening, court officials discovered that Evans' backpack contained an unidentified firearm.  Evans was immediately detained and the gun confiscated, and it is expected that Evans will face additional charges from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Evans was a farmer and former pastor at the Tilley Swamp Baptist Church ("Tilley Church") in Conway, South Carolina.  In addition, beginning in 2004, Evans also operated Gold & Silver LLC ("Gold & Silver"), which purported to invest in silver futures markets and offered quarterly returns ranging from 10% - 12%. Investors, some of whom included members of Tilley Church, were provided with regular account statements purporting to show regular account gains.

However, in reality, Evans misappropriated investor funds as he ran the classic Ponzi scheme.  Rather than achieve the exorbitant rates of return he represented to investors, he instead used funds for personal expenses, to make interest payments to investors, and suffered trading losses on the funds actually invested.  At the time Evans was indicted in late 2011, his seized bank accounts showed a balance of just $1,919.86.

Following his guilty plea in January 2013, Evans subsequently moved to rescind the plea one month later after claiming that he had been coerced by his lawyer to take the plea.  After later abandoning that effort, Evans focused on delaying the final version of his sentencing report.  When the report was eventually finalized, Evans proceeded to seek to delay his scheduled sentencing on the basis that he was "mentally incapacitated," that a later sentencing date would allow him to pay his hospital bill, and most recently that "critical developments will occur in the next four weeks.  An exasperated Judge Harwell refused Evans' latest request for delay and set today's sentencing.

According to Tonya Brown from, Evans received a 7-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution.