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Former Raleigh banker may have to give up $75M

Posted February 28, 2011

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— A federal judge is expected to order a former Raleigh banker accused of overseeing a massive investment fraud scheme to surrender more than $75 million.

William Wise never responded to a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of investors bilked in an alleged Ponzi scheme, and the agency has asked that a default judgment be entered against him. The losses, interest and fees in the judgment would top $75.5 million.

Wise, 59, operated Millennium Bank from a west Raleigh office. He billed it as a St. Vincent-based unit of a Swiss bank, but the SEC alleged that it was a front for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of investors, including at least 12 in North Carolina, by selling certificates of deposit that promised large returns.

Wise and others used customers' investments to finance a lavish lifestyle, according to the man appointed by a federal court to review Millennium Bank's books. Some of the expenses he uncovered include a $12,000 weekly allowance for Wise's wife, $6,000 to $10,000 a month for each of Wise's girlfriends, $1 million on wine, $800,000 to build an hangar in Atlanta for a corporate jet, $450,000 for three boats and an undetermined sum for a 2008 New Year's Eve party for 50 people on St. Vincent.

No criminal charges have ever been filed in the case, but Wise's assets were seized and auctioned off to help repay investors. More than $2.3 million has been recovered so far.

Wise's whereabouts are not known, and private detectives have searched for him in Florida and Canada, according to court documents. His wife and son returned to their native Canada after the government forced the sale of their luxury home in west Raleigh to recover cash.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 28, 2011

    They have to find him first. Saying he owes money is one thing. Collecting is something different.

  • beachblues1 Feb 28, 2011

    At least he gave his wife more than to each girlfriend weekly !!!!
    But the 2 girfriends got together more than the wife !!!

  • pappybigtuna1 Feb 28, 2011

    Didn't he belong to Bankers Local 4Q2, he shared with family & friends. Like one of the other news stories - he is one of gods children (my question, which god)
    This is another - "naughty, naughty pants on fire thingy"

  • 6079 SMITH W Feb 28, 2011

    Which is the worst of the two crimes....posting a clever comment to rail against censorship, or slipping said clever comment past the censors? ;)

  • I Change This Name Daily Feb 28, 2011

    GO for LOot, SUpport CKS!

  • 6079 SMITH W Feb 28, 2011

    Try something original....that one is on page 61 in 'The Teflon Neo-Con Guide to Denial, Deflection, and Strategery for Spinning Unpleasant Facts'......"When confronted with overwhelming evidence that your Neo-Con heroes are responsible for the ruination of economic stability, fall back on the lame excuse "The New Guy Did It, He's A Socialist, And Everything Wrong With America Today Is His Fault, And NOT Ours." ;)

  • GWALLY Feb 28, 2011

    He is partying with the Wisconsin "quitters" now..!!!!

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Feb 28, 2011

    The Republican party is really going to miss his donations.

  • cwood3 Feb 28, 2011

    6079-Please stop talking about President Obama that way. That's not nice!!!! May be right-but not nice.

    He can't help if they elected him President even if he was not qualified. That's not his fault. Oh-he could have helped himself by surrounding himself with folks that knew how the country worked. Instead, he hired a bunch of Socialist/ Commie CZARS who are great in book knowledge, but they have no clue in real world.

    Have no fear, 2012 is coming-sooner than we realize. The New Hampshire primary is when-next February. Iowa straw poles are right after NH. It's less than 1 year away.

    Questions is,.... Donald? Sarah? Newt? Haley? There could be a dozen candidates on the Republican side.

  • concreteman Feb 28, 2011

    Did anyone notice that at the end of the story under "related topics" was "FL Keys Oil Spill"!?