State prosecutors have filed charges against a Saginaw man who is accused of fraud in an investment scheme worth nearly $500,000.
Joel Wilson is accused of collecting money from at least three investors.
It is alleged that, beginning in 2009, Wilson scammed investors through his operation of The Diversified Group Advisory Fund LLC, an investment company. Wilson allegedly told investors that he
would use their funds to purchase distressed properties in the Saginaw area and Bay City areas. The properties would later be refurbished and sold for profit, which would go to investors.
When funds Wilson collected from the sales of the unregistered securities failed to turn a profit, he allegedly used new investor funds to pay returns to previous investors – the trademark of a Ponzi scheme.
In addition, Wilson allegedly pocketed approximately $47,000 of the investment funds to pay his personal expenses and acquire personal assets.
He was charged last week with racketeering, larceny and other crimes. Wilson's phone was unanswered Monday at his Saginaw-based business, The Diversified Group. The attorney general's office says he hasn't appeared yet in Bay City District Court.
Consumer Tips For Safe Investing
- Check out your broker or adviser. Confirm that your broker and financial adviser is registered and in good standing. Contact the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, at 1-877-999-6442, to check out your broker or adviser.
- Beware of strangers touting strange deals. Trusting strangers is a mistake anyone can make when it comes to their personal finances. Almost anyone can sound nice or honest on the telephone. Say "no" to any investment professional who presses you to make an immediate decision, giving you no opportunity to check out the salesperson, firm and the investment opportunity itself. Beware of anyone who suggests investing your money into something you don't understand or who urges that you leave everything in his or her hands.
- Take your time - don't be rushed into investment decisions. Salespersons who use high-pressure tactics to force an investor into an immediate decision are almost always pitching frauds. They don't want you to think too carefully or find out too much because you may figure out that it's a scam.
- Keep tabs on your investments. Be wary when a financial planner says "leave everything to me," or "the plan is too complicated to tell you." Everything should be clear and explainable to you.
- Monitor the activity on your account. Insist on receiving regular statements. Ask Questions. Never be embarrassed or apologetic about asking questions for trading activity that looks excessive or unauthorized. It's your money, not your broker's. Keep Diligent Records.
- Keep all of your records relating to your investments, including notes of conversations you have with brokers, salespeople, and financial advisers.