Man charged in Ponzi scheme speaks out - WNEM TV 5

Man charged in Ponzi scheme speaks out

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Joel Wilson Joel Wilson

The state attorney general has accused him of running a Ponzi scheme, and just this week, his wife was arrested in connection with the investigation as well.

And while the Mid-Michigan man is currently living in Germany, that didn't stop him from talking to TV5 about the investigation.

"I've been overcharged, the feds also looked into this investigation but they passed on it," said embattled Saginaw resident Joel Wilson in his first public comments.

TV5 spoke with him by phone from Germany where he has lived for the last 3 1/2 months.

Here in Michigan he is facing nine charges in Bay City in connection to a Ponzi scheme, and if convicted, could mean up to 40 years in prison. Wilson maintains his innocence.

"This is not about serving justice, this is about how the attorney general's office is seeking headlines," Wilson said.

Wilson is the owner of WR Rice Financial Services, an affiliate of both the Diversified Group and American Realty Funds Corporation, which owns 74 investments properties in Saginaw and Bay counties.

The state attorney general's office has charged Wilson with running a Ponzi scheme, stating Wilson used new investor funds to pay returns to previous investors.

"Every day, scam artists find new ways to pocket your money," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in January. "Financial exploitation is a growing crime in Michigan, and we are cracking down on these con artists. Be skeptical of anyone who promises huge returns for a small investment."

Wilson told TV5 he left for Germany on Dec. 3, one month before the attorney general filed charges. He insists he's not running from the law but says he's in Germany because the investigation has tainted his name.  When TV5 asked Wilson if he was coming back anytime soon, he said he didn't know.

"I don't know yet, I don't know, I don't have plans," said Wilson. "If I do, it won't be before the election to help the attorney general's chances."

Wilson is accused of fleecing nearly $500,000 in an investment scheme. He's been charged with racketeering, larceny and other crime. It is alleged that Wilson pocketed nearly $50,000 to pay for personal items.

To read more about the arrest of M. Viktoria Wilson, who is accused of lying to police, click here.

Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Joel Wilson or The Diversified Group are encouraged to file complaints with the attorney general's office at by clicking "File a Complaint." 

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