SPARTANBURG, South Carolina — Former Anderson County Council member Ronnie Wilson said his victims might have lost their life savings but can recover. Meanwhile, he is losing something irreplaceable as he spends nearly two decades in prison for stealing millions of dollars from them.
"I would like to spend some time with my daughter and my grandkids and my great-grandkids. But that's not likely to happen and so I have to just come to grips with what I've done and what it is going to cost me a lot. I'm sorry that it cost the clients what it did them, but it cost them things that are financial. It cost me things that I'll never recover," Wilson said in a jailhouse interview with WYFF-TV this week (http://bit.ly/12CueOR).
Wilson, 67, was already serving 19 years for mail fraud when he was sentenced Wednesday to an additional six months in prison for lying to authorities.
Wilson and another man were running a silver trading business. But starting in 2001, they kept the money for themselves, buying little of the precious metal with the $90 million given to them by investors.
"I started issuing statements that had nothing behind it," Wilson said in the interview from the Spartanburg County jail. "I even redesigned the statement that was very good. In fact, the Secret Service told me it was genius because there was no way anybody would look at that statement and have a doubt."
Wilson said he bullied people who said they didn't trust him. One vice president said she needed to see the silver to feel comfortable talking to customers.
"You don't trust me? Here you're vice president of the company, you don't trust me?" Wilson remembered saying.
The scheme finally fell apart when one customer who had $2 million invested and another with $1 million invested began asking questions and didn't accept Wilson's answers. He said he felt like a bullet with his name on it had been fired at him.
"I'm not mad at anyone. I'm mad at myself," Wilson said. "I did this. I put myself in here. Nobody put me in here. I did this. And it's a horrible way to end up your life."
Information from: WYFF-TV, http://www.wyff4.com/index.html