Former Upstate official ordered to pay $1.2 million earned through Ponzi scheme

By: Mandy Gaither, Source: WYFF

ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. —Former Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston has been ordered to repay more than $1.2 million that he earned after investing money in Ron Wilson’s Ponzi scheme, WYFF News 4 Investigates’ Mandy Gaither has learned.

According to federal records obtained by WYFF News 4 Investigates, Preston invested $192,000 with Wilson’s former company Atlantic Bullion & Coin, Inc.  Records show that Preston made $1,213,000 in profits from the investments.

In an exclusive jail interview taped in 2014, Wilson told WYFF News 4 that he orchestrated the Ponzi scheme on his own.  Wilson said no one knew that he was stealing money from victims, who thought they were investing in silver.

In a federal order dated June 13, Judge J. Michelle Childs authorized Beattie Ashmore, the attorney in charge of recovering money for victims, to recover $1,213,000 from Preston.

Preston also signed a confession of judgment in which he agreed that the amount was a “just and true” accounting of the money he received from Wilson.

Dozens of others who invested money with Wilson, profited from it and have not repaid the money to Ashmore have also faced federal lawsuits.

In a statement to WYFF News 4 Investigates, Preston’s attorney, Jim Bannister, said:

“The judgment was a recognition that Joey Preston was a net winner and that the law required him to pay back the amount that was over what he put in.  We never contested that, and there simply wasn’t any issue to be resolved by the court.  So the judgment will be applicable for at least the next 10 years, which means that any asset Preston has could be potentially used to satisfy all or part of the judgment.

“At the moment, there have been a number of lawsuits and investigations which all focused on Joey Preston’s finances.  Today, there’s the unanimous conclusion that he does not have any assets to pay back $1.2 million.  If he were to come into an asset, then the receiver would have the ability to attach the asset to satisfy the judgment.”