The SC Attorney General’s Office says former Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston should return more than $1 million he allegedly made by referring customers to former Councilman Ronnie Gene Wilson’s silver investment business.
Last week, Ron Wilson was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison on mail fraud charges after bilking investors out of $60 million in fraudulent silver investments.
Judge J. Michelle Childs of Greenville imposed sentence after hearing from victims, the government, and Wilson. She also ordered Wilson to pay $57 million in restitution to the 798 victims of the fraud.
The Orangeburg Times and Democrat reports that a complaint was filed against Preston last month.
The complaint alleges that Preston violated the state’s Uniform Securities Act by bringing investors to Wilson and Wilson’s business, Atlantic Bullion & Coin.
Investigators say Wilson operated a Ponzi scheme out of his Easley-based business for at least 11 years.
The Times and Democrat reports that the complaint does not allege that Preston knew Wilson’s business was a con, but that he did not check the investment as required and that he helped bring in investors without being properly registered to do so.
In addition to the return of Ponzi-related funds, the state also seeks to bar Preston from ever doing securities-related business in South Carolina. Preston also faces a fine of $10,000 per violation.
Earlier this year, Preston told investigators that Wilson had told him AB & C’s Silver Investment Accounts were operated as Ponzi schemes. Preston told investigators that Wilson also told him that he and his business did not have enough silver holdings to repay investors.
Preston himself invested in Atlantic Bullion & Coin, he told investigators.
Earlier this month, Preston became county administrator for Bamberg County.