WRAL Investigates

Banker's office, home on block as fraud case proceeds

Posted July 3, 2009 12:22 p.m. EDT

— Lawyers going after a local banker for running an investment scheme are asking the courts to close the books on his Raleigh office.

William Wise, 58, operated Millennium Bank, which he billed as a St. Vincent-based unit of a Swiss bank, from an office on Falls of Neuse.

The Securities and Exchange Commission against Wise and others, saying they were using the bank as a front for a Ponzi scheme that has stolen more than $68 million from 375 investors, including at least 12 in North Carolina.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case, but a federal judge has frozen Wise's assets, including all property in his west Raleigh home, and turned them over to a receiver to be auctioned off to repay investors.

Lawyers liquidating his assets agreed to forfeit a $2,800 security deposit on his office and pay $4,000 in unpaid rent to the landlord.

The government has already seized computer files and investor records from the office.

Court papers show that there is interest in Wise's Raleigh home. A buyer has offered nearly $900,000 for the property in a gated community off Duraleigh Road. The sale is scheduled to close on Aug. 30.

The papers show Wise's wife, Lynn, is opposed to the motion for a private sale.

Wise hasn't returned phone calls seeking comment. Authorities say his whereabouts are unknown, but sources close to the investigation have told WRAL News the Canadian native has returned to that country.