KY man sentenced to 63 months in prison after ponzi scheme

Published: Sep. 13, 2018 at 1:16 PM EDT
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A Kentucky man was sentenced to 63 months in prison after defrauding investors in an investesment club, and later, in church bonds.

Roger Dale Williams of Shelbyville, Kentucky plead guilty in May to federal mail fraud and tax charges. Williams began offering investment opportunities in 2001, offering a membership in an “investment club.”

Williams preyed on elderly victims, offering stock purchases, business start-ups, and bonds. He perpetuated his scheme by providing false IRS forms pertaining to their investments.

More recently, Williams extended his fraud scheme to members of the King Branch Road Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where he had become a pastor. He solicited funds for the purchase of purported church bonds and claimed the funds would be used for the benefit of the church, particularly to pay off the church’s debt.

However, Williams diverted the funds raised for the fake church bonds to his own personal use and benefit, as well as used the funds to make payments to investment club members to make it appear that their “investments” were generating income.

Williams also convinced several victims to transfer their Individual Retirement Accounts into bogus investments under his control, and then siphoned off the funds for his own use and benefit, including paying household bills, vehicle payments and taking trips.

“Protecting seniors is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Victimization of our elderly citizens, by either abuse or financial exploitation, will not be tolerated and we will continue to prosecute vigorously anyone who commits these crimes,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.

Along with prison time, Williams will also be forced to pay $1,373,361.96 in restitution to victims who lost money in the scheme.

“For nearly 15 years, Roger Williams used every opportunity, including his position as a pastor, to victimize others for his personal gain. He preyed on the elderly and vulnerable, and obstructed the IRS in order to further his scheme. Justice was served today, as Williams has been held accountable for his actions,” said IRS, Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line. “We will continue to pursue those who defraud American taxpayers.”

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