What to know about largest Ponzi scheme in Mississippi history – Clarion Ledger

Arthur Lamar Adams was sentenced to almost 20 years in prison Tuesday for operating the largest Ponzi scheme in Mississippi’s history.
Now that he has been sentenced, here are some answers to your questions about the case:
There was $164.5 million invested in the company. About $79.577 million was paid out to investors. There was a loss of about $85 million in investors’ money, according to the federal government. 
According to federal officials, the amount was $9 million.
Jan. 7. He asked to be sent to the Yazoo federal prison or a prison as close to Mississippi as possible, but that is a decision left to the Bureau of Prisons.
It’s unknown at this time. Adams told the FBI he was the only person who knew his business was a Ponzi scheme. 
Adams and his attorneys say he has been cooperating with authorities since his Ponzi scheme came tumbling down in April.
Adams signed a plea agreement, but there isn’t anything in the plea agreement about him testifying against any other defendant or defendants, which is typical in most plea agreements when other defendants will be charged.
Yes. The amount will be decided later, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Fulcher said. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves appointed New Orleans attorney Alysson Mills as the receiver to try to recover as much money for victims as possible.
Adams said he is now penniless after agreeing to forfeit all assets to the government.
Mills has determined that Adams had assets of about $2 million in personal and company bank accounts. All of his assets were frozen by a court order.
Adams also had a lot of other property, including a Jackson home purchased in 2011 for $364,000 and a condo in Oxford purchased for $135,000 in 2013. He also had interests in other property through companies he was a part of.
Mills has issued notices to recruiters paid to entice investors for Adams’ company that she plans to take legal action if they don’t return money to defrauded investors.
On Oct. 1, Mills filed a lawsuit against Michael D. Billings and MDB Group LLC; Terry Wayne Kelly Jr. and Kelly Management LLC; and William B. McHenry Jr. and First South Investments LLC.
The complaint alleges the defendants identified new investors for Adams’ company, Madison Timber Properties. For each investment made by an investor recruited, each received a cut of the investor’s payment, amounting to more than $16 million in commissions. Mills negotiated a settlement with Kelly, but not Billings and McHenry. Mills has also asked other organizations to return money received from Adams.
Likely. One lawsuit by an investor has been filed in Madison County Circuit Court. Some other investors have an attorney working on their behalf, and he said a lawsuit will likely be filed on behalf of his clients.
Since 2007. It was shut down in April.
Yes, some made money. However, the Ponzi scheme operated on getting new investors so older investors could be paid. The entire company was a sham.
Prosecutors say Adams’ company claimed to buy timber rights from landowners and then sold the rights for higher prices to lumber mills. The investors provided their money for loans to purchase the timber rights. Adams entered into contracts with investors, promising a 12 to 13 percent return over roughly a year.
But federal prosecutors and regulators say it was all a lie and nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. Adams created false timber deeds and asked investors not to file their timber deeds unless his company defaulted on the loan agreement by failing to make a payment.
The roughly 300 investors were from all walks of life including millionaires; a Hollywood producer; a California-based foundation; a retired Belk’s corporate employee in North Carolina; U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and his wife; Eric Orth, a disabled veteran; a 96 year-old-man and his 76-year-old wife; and a doctor.
Possibly. Fulcher said it’s possible that some investors could be subjected to a clawback provision if they made money beyond what they invested.
However, Adams’ attorney, John Colette, said he doesn’t believe any investor will have to pay back any money.
In 2016, a federal judge sentenced Gina Palasini to 6½ years for her role in a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $2 million. She also had state charges and convictions.
In 2005, Greenville businessman George W. “Bill” Hood Jr. was sentenced to spend almost six years in a federal prison for his role in bilking 19 investors of nearly $2.5 million in a scam to import blue crabs and other seafood into the United States. Codefendant Robert Picou was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
In 2004, Jackson securities dealer Victor G. Nance was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud 41 investors out of $10.2 million.
More:Ponzi scheme: Former Madison County businessman sentenced to 19.5 years
More:Disabled vet ‘left almost destitute’ from $100M Ponzi scheme, he says at businessman’s sentencing


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