Aynor preacher sentenced to seven years in prison in Ponzi scheme, now faces gun charges

More charges are expected to be filed against an Aynor Baptist preacher after he tried to bring a gun into a federal courthouse before his sentencing in a Ponzi scheme, authorities said.

U.S. Marshals found a firearm inside a bag that Archie Evans tried to bring into the McMillan Federal Building in Florence before his sentencing Wednesday morning, said Beth Drake, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Evans is expected to be charged as a felon in possession of a firearm in the incident because he had pleaded guilty in January 2013 in the Ponzi scheme and was considered a convicted felon, said William Day, an assistant U.S. attorney. If convicted on the charge, Evans could face up to 10 more years in prison.

On Wednesday, Evans was ordered to serve seven years in prison and pay $3.7 million in restitution in the Ponzi scheme case, and Evans was taken into federal custody, Day said. The judge told Evans he did not take the gun incident into consideration in the Ponzi scheme sentencing.

Evans, who has represented himself after he fired two lawyers in two years, indicated he plans to appeal that sentence. Evans had been free on a $25,000 unsecured bond since his arraignment in August 2012.

Evans was indicted two years ago and pleaded guilty in January 2013 to two felony charges related to the Ponzi scheme, in which Conway-based Tilly Swamp Baptist Church parishioners and others lost $2.5 million they invested with Evans’ Gold & Silver LLC.

An indictment in the case states that Evans convinced church members to invest in Gold & Silver LLC, with the promise that investors would receive quarterly interest payments of between 10 percent and 12 percent. Evans either spent the money or lost it on bad investments, but prepared false investment statements to make it appear as if church members were earning a high rate of interest on their money.

The scheme started in 2004, according to the indictment, and Evans had spent all of the money invested with him by October 2011. At the time of his indictment, court records show, federal agents seized the $1,919.86 that was left in Evans’ bank accounts.

During the case, Evans unsuccessfully tried to rescind his guilty plea and twice tried to delay Wednesday’s sentencing.