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Anchorage woman accused of running Ponzi scheme

Bill White

An Anchorage businesswoman is facing federal charges that she bilked numerous people and organizations out of $7.4 million, the U.S. Attorney's office said Friday.

Dorothy Samantha Delay- Wilson, 64, was arrested Friday, said Daniel Wardlaw, a special agent and spokesman for the IRS Criminal Investigation's Seattle field office. She was named in a 26-count indictment handed up by a federal grand jury earlier in the week.

Delay-Wilson was engaged in a Ponzi scheme and loan fraud between 1996 and 2009, the indictment said.

She guaranteed investors a high rate of return and made false claims about how she would invest the victims' money, the indictment said. Different investors got different stories from her.

She told victims she would invest their money in commercial real estate and restaurants, a global investment fund, European subprime loans and an investment banking service company.

But she used the money instead for her personal expenses and to pay earlier investors -- what the U.S. Attorney's office termed a classic Ponzi scheme.

Delay-Wilson also provided lenders with fraudulent statements and documents about her assets to obtain loans, the indictment said.

She allegedly has 14 victims, with the amounts obtained ranging from $25,000 to about $3.7 million, the indictment said. It listed her victims only by initials.

If convicted, Delay-Wilson faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $5 million fine and an order to pay full restitution to the victims, said Andrea "Aunnie" Steward, an assistant U.S. attorney. The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and the Anchorage Police Department, Wardlaw said.

PAST CHARGES

Delay-Wilson has long been active in Anchorage business circles and has long had a sketchy record.

In the 1990s, she bought into Alaska Builders Cache, a longtime building-supply business. By the late 1990s, that business had fallen apart.

At the same time, Delay-Wilson was convicted in state criminal court of scheming to defraud. She altered life insurance documents for policies belonging to her estranged husband to obtain a $500,000 loan from two Anchorage men. She didn't repay them.

In 2009 she was charged with stealing more than $100,000 from a former boyfriend. At that time, the charges said, she owned Money Sources LLC and Nona Oma Investments. Nona Oma combines the colloquial Italian and German and Dutch words for grandmother. Those two companies are cited in the new indictment.

THE ALLEGED SCHEME

Delay-Wilson now faces 14 counts of mail fraud, eight counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud and bank fraud.

Some of the charges appear to cover behavior she was accused of in state court in 2009, which allegedly involved forging her ex-boyfriend's name on stolen checks and draining funds from his account. A victim identified only by initials in the indictment but who has the same initials as the ex-boyfriend allegedly was defrauded of $790,000.

Last June, Delay-Wilson filed for bankruptcy, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records. The bankruptcy fraud charge in her indictment alleges she filed "a schedule of Personal Property that indicates she had $13.695 million in an account held at HSBC Canada, when in fact no such account existed."

The bank fraud charge alleges she provided a financial statement to Alaska USA Federal Credit Union in 2005 that claimed she was receiving consulting fees, when she actually was collecting rent on behalf of the victim who lost the $3.7 million, the indictment said.

In general, the indictment said, Delay-Wilson defrauded her victims "by making a series of ever changing false representations and false promises concerning, among other things, her background and experience, her financial position and assets, the purpose and use to which she would put the investors' money and the outcome of these investments."


By BILL WHITE
bwhite@adn.com