Last updated: May 31. 2013 2:40PM - 611 Views
Linda Burchette

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Keith Franklin Simmons, formerly of Ashe County, was found guilty today in U.S. District Court in Charlotte on all charges relating to his operation of a ponzi style scheme to defraud investors.
According to information provided by Suellen Pierce, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of North Carolina, the trial began Monday and concluded today with the jury verdict. The jury was out for four and a half hours.
Sentencing should take place sometime in 2011, Pierce said. Simmons is still in custody of the U.S. Marshalls Service since Dec. 23, 2009.
Simmons is currently facing maximum statutory penalties in excess of 60 years in prison and fines in excess of more than $1 million.
The government has secured an order of forfeiture of $40+ million along with all property involved in the violations alleged in the bill of indictment, all property which is proceeds of such violations, or all other property of the defendant to the extent of the value of the property involved, all money received during the crimes, a 2008 Lexus, 2004 Ford Explorer, 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2005 Yamaha Rhino ATV, Massey Ferguson tractor, collectible coins and bills (worth $40,000), approximately 35 shares of Mixed Martial Arts Xtreme Fighting Promotions, Inc., approximately 51 shares of XF Corporation, property in Jefferson, West Jefferson, Creston, Walnut Hill, Crumpler and Helton titled in the name of Black Diamond Capital Solutions, LLC and Keith Simmons. Whatever can be recovered and/or turned into cash will be used to assist his victims, a number of whom testified at the trial.
The case was handled for the government by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Meyers and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Odulio, both of the Charlotte Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of NC.
Simmons was arrested on Dec. 18, 2009 and indicted on the charges of money laundering and securities fraud violations on Jan. 20, 2010.
Simmons was accused of defrauding 240 investors of $35 million from April 2007 to September 2009. He operated a ponzi style scheme to induce investors to invest in Black Diamond Capital Solutions, LLC and other related entities.
Court documents claim that Simmons lulled investors into believing that he was placing their money into a foreign currency exchange platform when in reality he pocketed the funds to pay off new investors and to fund his lavish lifestyle. He later admitted to authorities that he never placed investors funds in any foreign platform and stated that he never found a suitable market for their money, court records indicated.
He lulled investors, an indictment stated, by making false and fraudulent representations, omitting material facts, and telling deceptive half-truths. Simmons even told investors that they had made interest on their investments and purported this on monthly statements when in fact no interest was gained on the platform and the monthly statements were fictionalized.
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