BUFFALO — U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Friday that a federal grand jury has returned a 47-count indictment charging Michael H. Wilson, 23, formerly of Hamburg, Erie County, with wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.
Wilson’s brother, William W. Wilson, 21, of Cleveland, Ohio, is charged with two counts of wire fraud and conspiracy. The maximum penalty for each fraud count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Campana, who is handling the criminal case, and Richard D. Kaufman, chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Asset Forfeiture and Financial Litigation Unit, said Michael Wilson is accused of attempting to defraud investors out of more than $8 million between June 2008 and July 2009 and another $71,875 in July 2010.
The indictment charges that Michael Wilson created several investment companies known collectively as “New Frontier,” including such names as “Phantom Holdings” and others, all purportedly located at 6553 Boston State Road in Hamburg, adjacent to his residence.
Prosecutors say the defendant induced individuals and companies to invest in financial instruments with complex sounding names — such as “leveraging” agreements — that promised high-yield earnings and returns.
The Indictment states that rather than investing clients’ money, Michael Wilson spent it on a variety of personal items, including $2.5 million for a down payment for Boston State Road properties, automobiles — including a Hummer, Corvette, two Land Rovers, and a Mercedes ML 500, artwork and other items.
The indictment also says that in January 2009, Wilson paid $1,800 to hire an actor from a talent agency to portray a person using the name of an alias (“George Possiodis”) which was used during his scheme.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than $3 million that Michael Wilson allegedly stole from investors and spent.
The brothers are also accused of conspiring in July to receive two wire transfers totaling $71,875, which a client believed would be invested by “Zodiak Capital,” another one of Michael Wilson’s companies.
Michael Wilson is believed to be residing in Canada. Hochul said his office will apply to have Michael Wilson extradited from Canada if he does not appear voluntarily in U.S. District Court in Buffalo to answer these charges. William Wilson was arrested in Columbus, Ohio Friday morning by special agents of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.