Father and Son Attorney Busted In Investment Scam
Attorneys Donald V. Watkins Sr., and his son, Donald V. Watkins Jr., have been found guilty of scamming multiple investors, including former NBA star Charles Barkley, out of more than $13 million by keeping funds they solicited for investments. A jury on March 8, 2019, found Watkins Sr. guilty on all counts after a 13-day trial and one of deliberation, including wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The son, Donald Jr., was found guilty on two counts; conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and wire fraud.
Law 360 reports that, according to court documents, Watkins Sr. and his son orchestrated the scam as a way to pay off their debts and personal expenses by soliciting investment funds for Masada Resource Group LLC, a company that converts waste to ethanol-based in Morocco. According to the indictment, Watkins Sr. took over as designated manager of Masada after its founder and CEO died in 2005, then started the scam within the next two years with the help of his son.
Prosecutors had accused the Father and Son Attorney scammers of using the solicited funds for personal loans, taxes, alimony, clothing, and a private plane. Evidently, the duo kept up the fraud until at least 2014 and took millions of dollars from their numerous victims.
The Father and Son Scam duo provided their investors updates regularly to keep them up to date on their investments and keep them from looking into where their money was actually being used. As part of the Investment Scam, Watkins Sr. claimed that former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Martin Luther King III were both affiliated with Masada, however, both individuals testified during the trial that they had absolutely nothing to do with the company. The second aspect of the scam involved both attorneys obtaining loans from Alamerica Bank when they convinced one of their victims to apply for loans on their behalf, then taking the money for their own, personal, spending uses.
To note, the maximum penalty for wire fraud is up to 20 years in prison, and 30 years for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
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