Canadian Man Pleads Guilty in $130 Million Ponzi Scheme

A Canadian man pleaded guilty to charges he ran a $130 million Ponzi scheme selling fraudulent certificates of deposit to 1,200 people through banking entities he controlled, U.S. prosecutors said.

William Wise, a Canadian citizen formerly of Raleigh, North Carolina, admitted that from January 2004 to March 2009 he and others sold more than $129.5 million of bogus CDs to investors, causing losses of more than $75 million, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in San Francisco said today in an e-mailed statement.

Wise pleaded guilty yesterday to 18 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and tax evasion, prosecutors said. He is scheduled for sentencing March 13 in federal court in San Francisco. He faces as long as 20 years in prison and a fine of twice the loss for the most serious charges.

Wise surrendered voluntarily, has been in custody since April and is cooperating with the government to recover funds, said Paul Wolf, his lawyer.

“He is doing everything he can to make amends and put this right,” Wolf said today in a phone interview.

The case is U.S. v. Wise, 12-00111, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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