Commodity Trading Adviser Principal Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison Following Guilty Plea
CHARLOTTE, NC—Earlier this month, Senior U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen sentenced a South Carolina man to 108 months in prison for his role as the “Chief Investment Officer” for an entity involved in the $75 million racketeering conspiracy known as “Operation Wax House,” announced the Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the lengthy prison term, Toby Hunter, 39, of Fort Mill, S.C. was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $8,095,903.80 in restitution to victims.
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall and John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division and Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) join Acting U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
“Our agents and enforcement attorneys worked diligently with our federal partners on this case for several years, and we were gratified to see this end result in federal court. Toby Hunter and other members of this vast racketeering enterprise showed utter contempt for the law and callous disregard for the victims. I want to thank our federal partners for their work in bringing this case to such a successful conclusion and giving victims some comfort in knowing that justice has been done,” said Elaine F. Marshall, North Carolina Secretary of State.
“Toby Hunter was a financial predator, now unable to harm investors for a long time. We are grateful for our partnership with the North Carolina Secretary of State, Securities Division, the FBI, and the IRS. With such a team, fraudsters and scammers should beware: we are coming for you,” said Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting United States Attorney.
According to filed court documents and statements made during Hunter’s sentencing hearing, Hunter and his conspirators collectively stole over $27 million from more than 50 investor victims. Hunter and his conspirators used the victims’ money to pay for personal expenditures, including private jets, high profile offices, entertaining themselves and others, and supporting their luxurious lifestyles. Hunter pleaded guilty in December 2013 to one count of racketeering conspiracy.
According to filed court documents and statements made during Hunter’s sentencing hearing, Hunter served the racketeering enterprise as the Chief Investment Officer for Prestige Capital Advisors, one of the entities used to defraud investor-victims. Hunter was a registered commodity trading advisor with the National Futures Association (NFA), and had passed the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 6 and Series 63 exams. Hunter registered Prestige Capital Advisor with the NFA, and used his education, licenses, and supposed experience to help lure investor victims to the scheme, including a victim defrauded of $4 million.
Following the sentencing hearing, Hunter was released on bond and will be ordered to surrender to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal cases are served without the possibility of parole.
Hunter’s case was investigated by the North Carolina Secretary of State, Securities Division, the FBI, Charlotte Division, and IRS-CI.
The Hunter prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Vento and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin M. Harrington. Mr. Harrington is an Enforcement Attorney with the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State, Securities Division, and was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte in September 2011. The SAUSA position reflects the partnership between the North Carolina Securities Division and the United States Attorney that helps ensure the effective and vigorous prosecution of white collar criminals, particularly in the area of securities fraud.