Earlier this week, Julius Everett Johnson was sentenced to eight years
and one month in prison for the operation of a "complex"
Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 150 investors in Virginia and North Carolina
out of approximately $9 million.
This was "not a run-of-the mill fraud," according to prosecutors.
In fact, according to authorities, Johnson's Ponzi scheme was a so
large and complex that he needed to keep "detailed records to track
into which of the multiple business and bank accounts he had stashed each
investor's money," ("Ponzi scheme operator sentenced to
8 years," Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 19, 2011).
Like most investment schemes, many of Johnson's victims were elderly
investors who lost their life savings in the scheme, and at least three
of the victims were in their late eighties/early nineties.
According to court documents, Johnson solicited investments with promises
that funds would be invested in certain specific companies and would reap
returns of 6 to 10 percent over a period of one to four years. Instead
of investing the funds as promised, Johnson used most of the money to
repay earlier investors. (For more information about the case, click
Johnson pled guilty to fraud and other charges in April. The companies
involved in the scheme were owned by Johnson and included: Virginia Group
Benefits, Mid-Atlantic Insurance, Benefit Contractors Administrators,
Inc., River City Cleaners, Roberts Awning LLC and Norvell Awning, LLC.