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Mississippi man accused of stealing more than $100 million in scheme

JACKSON (AP) — A Mississippi man was charged Tuesday in a Ponzi scheme that federal prosecutors say stole “well in excess” of $100 million from more than 250 investors in at least 14 states.

Arthur Lamar Adams was charged with wire fraud and bank fraud in federal court in Jackson. He’s scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday.
Federal court records don’t list a lawyer for Adams.

The criminal charge says the 58-year-old Jackson resident told investors that his Madison Timber Properties was buying timber cheaply and then reselling to sawmills it at a higher price. However, prosecutors say Adams was lying, despite creating fraudulent documents supporting his claims.
Investors would loan Adams’ company money at a guaranteed interest rate of 12 percent or 13 percent, with the money to be paid over 12 or 13 months, with Adams relying on new investors to repay principal and interest to older investors. Adams would issue post-dated checks, which prosecutors said was a way of persuading people to maintain or increase their investments.

Adams is alleged to have used at least some of the money to pay personal expenses and buy real estate in his own name.

The criminal charge also says Adams paid commissions to people who recruited investors, some of whom were investors themselves.

At least one bank raised questions about the transactions, prosecutors say, but Adams set up additional bank accounts.

Prosecutors say they want Adams to forfeit any money he gained, in addition to criminal penalties.

Prosecutors say they will be contacting investors and urge any potential victims to hold on to documents. Prosecutors say they’re looking for assets to try to repay defrauded investors.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.