Yesterday an out-of-work logger from Chehalis, WA, was convicted of nine felonies in the U.S. District Court of Western Washington in Seattle—including wire fraud, extortion, and destruction of a mailbox—for posing as a fraud investigator to demand payment from ponzi scheme victims for help recovering their money. The charade led him to blow up his own mailbox in order to "prove" his credibility an investigator.
According to court records, 45-year-old Kevin Williams hatched the plan in 2007, after his stepmother discovered she was one victim in a $90 million ponzi scheme. The case was being prosecuted in federal court in Atlanta, Georgia. Williams began contacting victims and attorneys involved in the case, posing as a fraud investigator and claiming to know where the assets taken in the scheme had been hidden. He wanted money for the information. No one would pay him. And so, records state, in order to prove he had valuable information and that powerful, uh, ponzi schemers wanted to silence him, Williams and a friend blew up his mailbox with a homemade bomb and called the sheriff's office to report it.
The ponzi scheme victims were not impressed. Court records show that Williams then sent threatening emails to get the victims to pay him for information he didn't have. They still wouldn't pay. So, in April 2008, he traveled to Atlanta, where the ponzi scheme trial was slated to begin and was subsequently arrested by police with guns, ammunition, and explosive ingredients in his car. Following his arrest, William's mailbox cohort contacted police and confessed to staging the bomb.
A jury found Williams guilty of extortion, possession of a firearm without a serial number, destruction of a letter box, two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm (a pipe bomb and a zip gun), three counts of wire fraud, and making a false official statement. He faces up to 20 years in prison.