Caribbean Second Ponzi Scheme By American Revealed

Details are emerging of how an American banker, accused of operating a multi-million dollar scheme which he fronted as the Millennium Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines, spent the money he allegedly swindled from investors on expensive property and on the upkeep of his wife and mistresses.

Documents submitted by prosecutors show that William Wise, 58, did not make any investments with the money he received from investors.

Instead, it has been alleged, he used as much as US$7 million to buy an estate in the Caribbean island where the offshore bank was said to be based; spent US$1 million on wine; US$40,000 a month on interest for a private plane; paid US$12,000 weekly to his wife; and gave an unknown number of female companions between US$6,000 and US$10,000 every month.

He also allegedly took US$400,000 to pay off a mortgage in Raleigh, North Carolina.

A federal judge has frozen Wise’s assets and turned them over to a receiver to be auctioned off to repay investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed suit against Wise and others in March, saying they were using the bank as a front for a Ponzi scheme that has stolen more than US$68 million from 375 investors, including at least 12 people in North Carolina.

The SEC suit alleges that Millennium Bank advertised certificates of deposit (CDs), in luxury lifestyle magazines and on its web site, guaranteeing seven to nine per cent return on investment. The returns were more than four times the interest rates offered on CDs by most commercial banks, authorities said.

Wise has not been charged with a crime so far and is only facing a civil suit.

His legal troubles surfaced a month after financier Sir Allen Stanford faced charges stemming from a similar fraud that operated through the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

He initially only faced civil charges but last month he was slapped with 21 criminal fraud charges and has been ordered to stay in jail until his trial in August.

Source: www.caribbean360.c0m


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