The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged a Miami investment advisor with siphoning money from his investment fund and defrauding investors, including several local teachers, a church pastor and a former police chief.
The SEC alleges that Phil Donnahue Williamson conducted a Ponzi scheme with money he raised for the Sterling Investment Fund, which purportedly invested in mortgages and properties in Florida and Georgia.
Williamson agreed to settle the SEC’s charges and be liable for $748,050.01 in disgorgement.
According to the SEC, many of Williamson’s investors were public sector retirees such as teachers and law enforcement officers who sought safe investments for their retirement savings. “Williamson assured investors there was no risk involved and they would receive annual returns of 8% to 12%, but rather than invest their money as promised, he used the majority of fund assets to pay his personal expenses and make supposed returns to investors,” the SEC says.
He also created fictitious valuations that were sent to investors.