Joyce Allen Found Guilty of Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Money Laundering Related to Benchmark Capital Inc.
KNOXVILLE, TN—On Sept. 22, 2014, Joyce Allen, 66, of Alcoa, Tenn., was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, of charges contained in a March 2014 superseding indictment involving wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Sentencing has been set for 10:00 a.m., January 13, 2015, before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge.
Allen faces a potential term of up to life in prison, along with the forfeiture of any proceeds of the offense and the obligation to pay restitution.
In March 2014, a grand jury returned a 10-count superseding indictment against Allen and five other individuals associated with Benchmark Capital, Inc. (Benchmark), a Knoxville business owned by Charles D. Candler. The business purpose of Benchmark was to defraud investors by taking their funds in exchange for worthless and nonexistent investments, and paying a portion of the funds received to earlier investors under the guise of paying dividends, interest and mortgage payments, thereby encouraging new investors to entrust their funds to Benchmark. Details of the scheme are outlined in the superseding indictment on file with the U.S. District Court.
According to facts outlined in the superseding indictment, Allen was the president of J. Allen and Associates, Inc., based in Louisville, Tenn. Through this business, Allen induced individuals to pay funds to her in exchange for annuity investments with Benchmark, knowing that these funds would not be placed with Benchmark or any other company for investments, but converted to personal use by Allen and her other co-conspirators.
The other five individuals named in the superseding indictment have previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court. Candler died in March 2012 before he could be charged in the conspiracy.
The superseding indictment and subsequent conviction of Allen and the other five co-conspirators was the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Dale, Jr., and Jennifer Kolman represented the United States at trial.