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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Charlotte businessman pleads guilty in $5.3 million investment scheme

A Charlotte businessman pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday that cheated family members, friends and social acquaintances out of more than $5.3 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wynn A.D. Charlebois, 53, used companies he owned and controlled, including WC Private, Wilcox Hybrid, Damon Investments, and others to perpetrate the investment scheme that caused 39 victim investors to lose money between 2015 and October 2022, according to the government.  

Charlebois recruited victim investors by falsely promising their money would be invested in risk-free investments, subscription agreements and loans. Court documents show that Charlebois fraudulently asserted in the investment agreements presented to victims that he and his entities held stock options for particular companies, and that the investors could purchase the options and gain specified profits.

Instead, Charlebois used the money to make Ponzi-style payments to other investors, and on personal expenses such as private school tuition, mortgage payments, luxury travel and meals at restaurants, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Charlebois was released on bond following his plea hearing and now awaits sentencing. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

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