LANSING, MI – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced Joel Wilson, 31, of Saginaw, has been successfully apprehended after fleeing from justice for more than a year in Europe. Wilson faces nine felony charges dealing with three specific Michigan investors. Approximately $8.5 million in investor funds is missing.
“You can run, but you can’t hide, even when you are an ocean away. Justice will catch up with you,” said Schuette. “We are confident in our case and prepared for trial.”
“We appreciate the assistance United States Department of Justice INTERPOL Division and U.S. Marshalls provided to bring this case closer to securing justice for the victims of this fraudulent investment scheme.”
Wilson will be transported from Frankfurt, Germany to Detroit in the custody of U.S. Marshalls on May 15, 2014. Attorney General investigators will then transport Wilson to the Bay County Jail.
Arraignment for Wilson will take place at 1:30 P.M. on May 16, 2014 in Bay County’s 74th District Court. before Judge Dawn Kilda.
As Attorney General investigators closed in on Wilson’s operation in late 2012, he fled the country for Germany. Schuette filed multiple criminal charges against Wilson in January 2013 and worked with federal officials to issue a warrant for his arrest in Europe. On January 20, 2014, Wilson was arrested in Germany by Dresden Police. On January 21, 2014, Schuette’s office received notification from INTERPOL that Wilson had been arrested by European law enforcement and summarily filed paperwork to extradite Wilson from Germany to face trial for his pending criminal charges in Michigan.
Beginning in 2009, Wilson allegedly scammed investors out of $8.5 million selling unregistered securities 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, offering a return on their investment.
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. In addition, Wilson allegedly pocketed approximately $47,000 of the investment funds to pay his personal expenses and acquire personal assets.
The following nine charges were filed against Wilson in Bay City District Court on January 8, 2013:
- One count of Continuing Criminal Enterprise (Racketeering), a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison;
- Three counts each of Sale of Unregistered Securities, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison;
- One count of Larceny by Conversion ($20,000 or more), a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison;
- One count of Larceny by Conversion ($1,000-$20,000), a felony punishable by up to five years in prison; and,
- Three counts each of Fraudulent Sale of Securities, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Shawn Dicken was Convicted of Multiple Felonies for Role in Diversified Group Scheme
Dicken failed to disclose the risks associated with the actual investment in question – a highly leveraged real estate investment that could result in the loss of all of the investors’ money. Many investors risked their life savings. Dicken swindled investors out of more than two million dollars through dishonest tactics. Investigation revealed Dicken took an eight percent commission, pocketing approximately $160,000 for herself.
Dicken was convicted of the following charges by a Midland County jury on March 13, 2014:
- One count of Criminal Enterprises – Conducting, a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; and,
- One count of Embezzlement From A Vulnerable Adult – $50,000 Or More But Less Than $100,000, a felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine or three times the value, the defendant must admit the amount, or it must be greater; and,
- Seven counts of False Pretenses – $1,000 Or More But Less Than $20,000, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, or 3 times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater.
Dicken was acquitted on one count of Securities – Fraudulent Sales.
Dicken, who is currently free on bond, will return for sentencing in Midland County Circuit Court before Judge Stephen P. Carras on June 19, 2014.
At sentencing, Schuette will seek approximately $850,000 in restitution for the eight victims associated with these convictions. Schuette will request $2.15 million in restitution for additional victims affected by Dicken’s crimes.
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.”
A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.