A Gresham, Ore., man has been charged with raising more than $8.1 million form a single investor for a gold mine in Central America and other investments and using the money to pay for his daughter’s wedding and other personal expenses, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday.
John Clifford Williams sold $2.6 million worth of securities in Energy Operations Trust, a gold and manganese mining operation in Central America, and $5.5 million in American Hydraulic Power LLC, a developer of energy efficient technology, to a single investor. He also raised smaller sums from the same investor for other operations, including development of an island off the coast of Panama.
The SEC complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri says Williams took advantage of the trust the investor placed in him and repeatedly solicited money based on representations that the funds would only be used for specific investments.
Instead, Williams misappropriated more than $3.1 million of the money between February 2009 and May 2014 to pay for his daughter's wedding, credit card bills, restaurant and grocery bills, health-care expenses, holiday gifts and entertainment expenses. The SEC also alleges that Williams diverted the investor’s funds to pay for domestic and international travel, including first class flights and luxury accommodations, and to fund other projects that were not authorized by the investor.