In another unfortunate case of a pastor fleecing his flock, Archie Larue Evans of Conway, SC pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and structuring financial transactions. The 42-year-old Evans, formerly preacher at Tilly Swamp Baptist Church, was indicted in July for running a $2.5 million Ponzi scheme that exploited several of his parishioners. From 2004 to 2011, he solicited cash ostensibly for trading through his company Gold & Silver LLC.
The preacher man promised his congregation no minor miracle: 10-12% returns per quarter. The indictment states that from at least 2009 Evans was operating his Ponzi scheme after either spending client funds on himself or losing them in trades. He then paid out false returns to cover up the money’s disappearance. Evans also provided clients with phony account statements showing them their wondrous profits so that he could sustain the scheme and recruit new investors.
In order to avoid triggering Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) by the local banks, Evans went on to apply his own version of the golden rule, structuring the transfer of investor funds to his business at or below an amount of $10,000. He was able to squirrel away $500,000 into accounts at Anderson Brothers Bank and $340,000 to First Citizens Bank, both located in Conway. Yet by the end of Evans’ run, federal agents seized just a little over $1,000 remaining in his bank accounts. Pleading guilty to one charge of fraud and one of structuring enables Evans to strike a bargain and sidestep the full fourteen counts leveled against him by the US Attorney. He still faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
ARCHIE LARUE EVANS
- Age: 42
- Company: Gold & Silver LLC
- Job: Preacher, Day Trader
- Scam: Precious Metals Trades
- Profits: 40-48 % annual returns
- Amount of Fraud: $2.5 million
- Number of Victims: At least 6
- Affinity Group: Churchgoers
- Location: Conway, SC
- Indictment: 14 Counts of Fraud, Structuring
- Court: US District Court in South Carolina