State prosecutors have filed charges against a Saginaw man who is accused of fraud in an investment scheme worth nearly $500,000.
Joel Wilson, 30, is accused of collecting money from at least three investors and telling them it would be used to purchase, fix and resell distressed homes in Saginaw and Bay City. The attorney general's office says Wilson kept some money for his own use and also recycled it among other investors.
"Every day, scam artists find new ways to pocket your money," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. "Financial exploitation is a growing crime in Michigan, and we are cracking down on these con artists. Be skeptical of anyone who promises huge returns for a small investment."
He was charged last week with racketeering, larceny and other crimes. Wilson's phone was unanswered Monday at his Saginaw-based business, The Diversified Group. The attorney general's office says he hasn't appeared yet in Bay City District Court.
It is alleged that, beginning in 2009, Wilson scammed investors through his operation of The Diversified Group Advisory Fund LLC, an investment company. Wilson allegedly told investors that he would use their funds to purchase distressed properties in the Saginaw area and Bay City areas. The properties would later be refurbished and sold for profit, which would go to investors.
When funds Wilson collected from the sales of the unregistered securities failed to turn a profit, he allegedly used new investor funds to pay returns to previous investors – the trademark of a Ponzi scheme. In addition, Wilson allegedly pocketed approximately $47,000 of the investment funds to pay his personal expenses and acquire personal assets.
Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Joel Wilson or The Diversified Group are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General's Office at www.michigan.gov/ag by clicking "File a Complaint."
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.