Worried investors meet in Easley

EASLEY — More than 15 worried investors met in Easley Monday night on the campus of Tri-County Technical College for an update on the situation with Ron Wilson, representing Atlantic Bullion and Coin.
The meeting was called by S.C Sen. Kevin Bryant and S.C. Rep. Josh Putnam Monday night to keep investors updated on the investigation into Atlantic Bullion and Coin’s alleged Ponzi scheme involving $71 million.
Assistant Attorney General Tracy Meyers said as she investigates, she often thinks of the 92-year-old man who first brought the situation to the attention of the state Attorney General’s office. She feels bad for the man and other victims of the scheme, but then she remembers that the original money is most likely already gone. Her job is to seek justice for the victims.
“Our investigation is still ongoing,” Meyers said. “We are in the process of identifying people who profited through sales commissions.”
Meyers said such people should make an effort to contact the Attorney General’s office.
“In terms of wanting to do the right thing, I would think it would be good if you contact us before we contact you,” Meyers said.
In 1996, Meyers issued a cease and desist order against Atlantic Coin and Bullion and Wilson, but that action was not well-known among Atlantic Coin and Bullion’s investors.
“In 1996, the Internet was not as active,” Meyers said. Such actions would merit an article in a newspaper, but no further information would be readily available.
Meyers said that while investors are likely to pursue a class-action lawsuit against Atlantic Coin and Bullion, the Attorney General’s office cannot be involved with such an action.
Thomas Griffin, the Resident Agent In Charge of the Greenville office of the Secret Service, said his office has been forced to be more open about this case than most that it investigates.
“It is extremely rare for the Secret Service to even confirm an investigation is going on,” Griffin said.
Griffin said the Secret Service did execute two search warrants last week in Easley as part of their investigation..
Additional agents were brought in from Washington, Charleston and other offices because of the massive amounts of information.
Griffin said that several people his office has spoken with almost lost money with Atlantic Bullion and Coin, but stopped short of actually investing anything.
Griffin said that Thursday and Friday would be reserved for interviews with investors. He stressed that it is important for investors to contact his office at (864) 233-1490.
“Every person we have spoken with has provided information that we did not know,” Griffin said. “We want to interview everybody. Ultimately, what we want is justice.”
During a question and answer session, one person asked why Wilson had not been arrested yet. The person said he had heard reports that Wilson was in Tennessee.
Officials said that more investigation was needed before an arrest was made, but they felt very comfortable that Wilson would not be leaving the country.
Another person questioned not arresting Wilson.
“This was announced almost two weeks ago,” the man said. “Why would you let a man who has taken millions of dollars from people go free? I heard some guy say he was in Tennessee. He should be in the Greenville County jail. Why haven’t we locked this guy up?”
Griffin said that the investigation takes time because of the vastness of the case.
“We are investigating at a rapid pace,” Griffin said. “I’m from here. I’ve got very little patience and very little tolerance, but we made great progress last week. We’re going to be thorough.”
Meyers said she could not comment on an ongoing case, but she agreed that being thorough was the best approach.
“To do it right takes a lot of work,” Meyers said.
But Meyers said people should not think the case is not being addressed by the attorney general’s office.
“You don’t always see what’s going on,” Meyers said. “Stuff is going on behind the scenes; sometimes you can’t tell what’s going on.”