LANSING, MI – Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on Thursday, March 5th, 2015, a Bay County jury has convicted Joel Wilson, 32-years-old, of Saginaw, on nine felony charges for his role in an extensive Michigan Ponzi scheme.
Wilson defrauded hundreds of Michigan victims out of millions of dollars. In January 2014, Schuette launched extradtion efforts to retrieve Wilson from Germany after he was on the lam in Europe for more than a year. The charges were filed following an Attorney General investigation.
“I am pleased we have secured justice for the vicitms who lost their life savings,” said 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.”
Wilson was convicted of the following charges filed in Bay County 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 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 of Fraudulent Sale of Securities, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Following Schuette’s felony charges against Wilson, additional victims have come forward with allegations against Wilson and the Diversified Group. Wilson may face additional charges pending the outcome of investigation into those cases.
Wilson, who is currently being held in Bay County Jail, will return for sentencing in Bay County Circuit Court before Judge Joseph K. Sheeran on April 27th, 2015 at 1:30 pm.
In September 2013, Schuette announced felony charges against a second person for perpetrating Wilson’s scheme. In March 2014, Shawn Dicken, 40-years-old, Bay City, was convicted of nine felonies, one count of Criminal Enterprises, one count of Embezzlement From A Vulnerable Adult, and seven counts of False Pretenses. Dicken was sentenced on June 19, 2014 to 11 years, eight months to 20 years in prison by Midland County Circuit Court before Judge Stephen P. Carras.
Dicken was convicted of charges concerning her role as a salesperson in the Diversified Group Advisory Firm LLC Ponzi scheme. Dicken allegedly 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 by using dishonest tactics. Investigation revealed Dicken allegedly took an eight percent commission, pocketing approximately $160,000 for herself.