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Man Arrested in Europe for Michigan Ponzi Scheme

Court-gavel-and-justiceLANSING, Mich. — A Saginaw man is awaiting extradition from Europe for allegedly defrauding victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Wednesday that Joel Wilson, 31, was arrested Jan. 20 in Dresden, Germany.  He allegedly fled there in late 2012 as investigators were closing in on his operation.

Starting in 2009, Wilson allegedly scammed investors, at least three from Michigan, through his operation The Diversified Group Advisory Fund LLC.  He allegedly told victims that he would use their funds to purchase “distressed properties” in the Saginaw and Bay City areas, according to a release.

When the funds he collected didn’t turn a profit, he used new investment funds to pay old investors.  He also allegedly pocketed about $47,000 of the investment funds for personal expenses.

“Financial exploitation is a growing crime in Michigan,” Schuette said in a release. “Be skeptical of anyone who promises huge returns for a small investment.”

Schuette’s office formally filed nine felony charges against Wilson in January 2013.  The charges include a twenty-year racketeering felony, three counts of selling unregistered securities, one count of larceny by conversion over $20,000, one count of larceny by conversion between $1,000 and $20,000 and three counts of fraudulent sale of securities.

The extradition process with is underway, according to a release.

A second person was arrested in September 2013 for her alleged role in the Ponzi scheme.  Shawn Dicken, 40, allegedly misled people about the risks involved with their investments and swindled them out of more than $2 million.  She is heading to trial March 3 in 42nd Circuit Court.

Anyone who believes they may have been victims of Joel Wilson or the Diversified Group are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office. 

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