Horry County resident Archie Larue Evans was indicted this week on 14 felony charges related to an alleged Ponzi scheme in which federal prosecutors say he stole more than $2.5 million from members of the Tilley Swamp Baptist Church and others, according to court documents.
Prosecutors say Evans convinced church members to invest in his company, Gold & Silver LLC, with the promise that investors would receive quarterly interest payments of between 10 percent and 12 percent. Evans either lost or spent the money, but prepared false investment statements to make it appear as if the investors were earning a high rate of interest on their money.
The false statements also were used to encourage others to invest in the scheme, according to the indictment, and Evans used money from the new investors to make interest payments to the previous investors. Evans also used the new investors’ money for his own personal expenses, court documents show.
The scheme started in 2004, according to the indictment, and Evans had spent all of the money invested with him by October 2011.
Evans faces eight felony charges of mail fraud related to documents he allegedly sent via the U.S. Postal Service to investors located in Conway, Little River and Galivants Ferry. Evans also faces five felony charges of money laundering related to “interest payment” checks he allegedly wrote to investors from an account at Anderson Brothers Bank. Each mail fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison while each money laundering charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Evans also faces one felony charge of conspiracy for allegedly structuring 61 financial transactions at two banks over a 17-month period to evade the reporting requirements banks must follow for deposits exceeding $10,000. That charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
An arraignment hearing for Evans is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15 at the federal courthouse in Florence.