When insurance firms launched social media initiatives, the results were rewarding.
Jan. 10--A federal grand jury has indicted a local insurance salesman on 28 counts of wire fraud and other alleged crimes, saying he spent more $686,000 of his clients' money on personal and business expenses.
Timothy David Mays, 48, of Summerville, also is charged with mail fraud as well as submitting a false tax return for 2006 and failing to file his income tax forms for three years, according to a document filed Tuesday with U.S. District Court in Charleston.
A state-licensed life and health insurance salesman, Mays was CEO of MaysGroup Financial and Life Trust Financial LLC, which were based in Summerville.
The indictment said the alleged fraud took place between November 2008 and June 2011. It involved 17 individuals and couples who gave Mays a total of $1.09 million to invest in annuities and certificates of deposit.
To attract business, Mays advertised bonuses for clients who brought certain types of retirement accounts, and he promised higher returns on CDs than even the banks that issued the savings instruments.
Prosecutors said the pitch was a sham because he had no "business, commercial, or working relationship" with the companies whose products he was selling.
Mays invested about $200,000 of the funds and spent about $689,448 "on a variety of personal" expenses, according to the indictment. Money went to child support, medical bills, rent, utilities, unspecified luxury goods, vacations and an automobile.
He returned about $203,000 to nine investors to prolong the scheme, the indictment said. Of those clients, four either had threatened to or did contact law enforcement authorities about Mays.
The interstate wire fraud charges stemmed from transactions involving checks that were electronically routed outside South Carolina.
Mays faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for each of the 32 counts of wire and mail fraud, plus fines. He also faces up to six years behind bars and financial penalties on the tax charges.
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572 or email@example.com.
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