COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The wife and brother of a former Anderson County councilman have admitted helping hide assets from his Ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Cassandra Kendall Wilson, 66, of Woodruff, and Timothy L. Wilson, 60, of Martin, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to obstruct justice, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said in a news release.
Authorities have said the pair helped Ronnie Wilson stash hundreds of thousands of dollars before a court-appointed receiver could find the money and try to disburse it to defrauded investors. Cassandra Wilson and Timothy Wilson face up to five years in prison when they're sentenced later.
Ronnie Wilson is serving 19 years in prison for mail fraud. Prosecutors say he and another man promised to buy and sell silver for hundreds of customers through his business, Atlantic Bullion & Coin, but invested little of the $90 million they took in.
Authorities have also said Wilson told investigators he bought silver and shipped it to customers but ultimately changed receipts to keep the scheme going, losing nearly $60 million.
Wilson was arrested in April 2012. Starting the same month, federal prosecutors say he gave his wife and brother ammunition canisters full of money. Cassandra Wilson ultimately lied about the money during a deposition, prosecutors said, and Ronnie Wilson falsely told investigators he hadn't hidden any assets.
Greenville attorney Beattie Ashmore, the court-appointed receiver collecting Ronnie Wilson's assets and compensating defrauded investors, said in August that Wilson's wife and brother hid nearly $400,000 in gold, silver and cash from the government.
Ronnie Wilson has also pleaded guilty to lying about hiding the money. Three others people have been found guilty of charges related to the Ponzi scheme and hiding assets.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP