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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Weaver

Floyd Brothers Plead Guilty

Two Whiteville brothers responsible for a multi-year, multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme pleaded guilty to selling unregistered securities in federal court Monday.

Joseph W. Floyd IV and William F. Floyd Jr. entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle for conspiracy to sell and deliver unregistered securities under the guise of a purported investment program. At sentencing, the Floyds each face a statutory maximum of 60 months’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. The Floyds will also be required to make restitution to the victims of the offense.

Through their family business, Floyd Insurance, the brothers offered a loan program that was billed as a safe, conservative lending plan that offered higher interest payments to investors than traditional certificates of deposit or money market accounts.

More than 150 individuals and businesses in Southeastern North Carolina, most in Columbus County, invested funds in exchange for interest-bearing promissory notes. The promised return was six to ten percent, according to court documents. The Floyds also personally guaranteed the investments, saying that investor principal was repayable within one year. The Floyds initially used the borrowed funds to extend credit to Monthly Payment Plan (MPP), a company they co-owned in Chapel Hill, that financed insurance premiums for consumers.

The promissory notes were securities as defined by law and therefore required to be registered with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). As part of the registration process, the SEC requires businesses to provide important financial information that allows investors to make informed investment decisions. The Floyds never registered their investment offering with the SEC at any time.

Investors were led to believe that FIA was earning sufficient profits from which to pay the promised rate of return and fund redemptions of principal upon demand. In truth, by 2012, FIA had borrowed more than $20 million from investors and did not have the means to service the debt through any legitimate business source.

In order to forestall bankruptcy, the Floyds operated the Loan Program as a Ponzi scheme in which principal and profits were paid to existing investors with funds raised from more recent investors. Investors were never advised of this fact.

Instead, the Floyds concealed FIA’s insolvency from investors and continued to accept additional investments. In May 2020, FIA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In August 2020, the Floyds each filed for personal bankruptcy.

“The Floyd brothers used their family insurance business to fleece dozens of Eastern North Carolina families of millions by promising low-risk investments with outsized returns,” stated U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is turning up the heat on white collar conmen who use Ponzi schemes and securities fraud to defraud hardworking North Carolina families.”

"The level of greed the Floyd brothers exhibited is difficult to comprehend. Not only did they prey on members of their own community for profit, even relatives were also not off limits. While their guilty pleas won't reimburse those who lost money, we hope federal prison sentences will repay their victims in some way," said Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Scherck.

Easley made the announcement after the arraignments were concluded. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Field Office, investigated the case. The Securities Exchange Commission, Atlanta Field Office, also provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted the case for the government.

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