Government Food Fight over $100m Fraud Settlement Assets

Chicot Memorial

JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — Mississippi state and federal authorities are fighting over who should collect assets and repay victims of a $100 million-plus fraud. Last week 58-year old Arthur Lamar Adams pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Adams told investors he was buying rights to cut timber cheaply and selling it for higher prices to sawmills, persuading investors to loan him money and promising to repay in 12 to 15 months with interest rates of 12 percent to 15 percent. In reality, there was very little timber and Adams used the new money to pay off old investors in a classic Ponzi scheme. A judge froze Adams’ assets in a civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission in parallel with the criminal prosecution. The feds want a judge to appoint a Florida-based temporary receiver, saying there’s likely to be a disorderly rush of lawsuits. At least one civil suit has already been filed. While Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann agrees with appointing a receiver but wants a Mississippi lawyer instead, saying it will be cheaper and better safeguard his interests in seeing that Mississippians get repaid.



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