13-Year California Ponzi Scheme Comes to an End

Elderly Ponzi Scheme Runners Face 80 Years in Prison

Ponzi SchemeTwo elderly San Fernando Valley residents have been convicted for running a Ponzi scheme for 13 years, which netted them $100 million, and now potentially 80 years in prison.

Joel Barry Gillis, 74, and Edward Wishner, 76, face up to 80 years in prison each for the Ponzi scheme charges. Both men pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and conspiracy charges related to their long-running and very successful Ponzi scheme.

Investors in the Ponzi scheme were told that their money would go to new ATM machines through their fraudulent business, Nationwide Automated Systems Inc. The two defendants convinced many buyers that the machines were worth between $12,000 and $19,800 a pop. The men claimed that investors would receive $0.50 per ATM transaction, with an annual return of 20%, by placing the ATMs in high-traffic locations such as hotels, casinos, and convenience stores. The men claimed that NASI operated 30,000 ATMs nationally, and received $1 billion in ATM transactions each month.

The Ponzi scheme netted 2,000 investors over its 13 years of operation, and even at a low point in the scheme last year, when the defendants bounced $3 million in fraudulent checks, they received $4 million in new investors.

In response to hundreds of calls from investors, Gillis and Wishner “falsely sought to reassure the victim-investors that NASI was only suffering from accounting problems and technical delays relating to system upgrades, and that timely payment of investor returns would likely resume by the beginning of October 2014,” according to court papers.

The defendants will be sentenced for the federal charges related to their Ponzi scheme on March 30th.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help With South Carolina Federal Criminal Charges, Including Indictments for Ponzi Schemes

The South Carolina federal criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC will fight to protect your rights and your personal and professional future.

Whether you are charged with:

  • a computer crime
  • mail fraud, wire fraud, or bank fraud,
  • a RICO violation
  • a drug crime,
  • tax fraud
  • making a false statement to a federal agent,

or any other South Carolina Federal criminal charges, you are likely facing a personal, family, social, business, and/or financial crisis unlike any you have ever faced before.

It is also important that you speak with a competent federal criminal defense attorney before discussing anything with a Federal agent, as you may be prosecuted for any false statements made to a Federal agent. Remember, Martha Stewart did not go to prison for insider trading; she was convicted of making a false statement to a Federal agent. This is known as a 1001 violation.

For experienced Columbia, South Carolina criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights and work to have your charges reduced or even dismissed, contact the  South Carolina federal charges attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, today. We offer a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss our experience and knowledge of the system can help you. 803.252.4800

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