President and CEO of Wilson Capital Group Pleads Guilty to Stealing Client Funds
NORFOLK, VA—Ayanna N. James, also known as Ayanna Wilson James and Ayanna N. Wilson, 39, of Virginia Beach, Va. pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and unlawful monetary transactions.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigations, Washington, D.C. Field Office, and Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller.
James was charged in a criminal information that was filed on May 6, 2015. James faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for unlawful monetary transactions the Court sentences her on August 11, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, James was the President and CEO of Wilson Capital Group, Inc. which was a private equity firm that she claimed controlled billions of dollars in investor participation. Claiming that she controlled a legitimate company, James, and other known conspirators, solicited funds from clients by promising to secure capital and other financing through purported “Standby Letters of Credit” and other fraudulent means. James, however, immediately converted the funds entrusted to her company to her own personal use to fund her extravagant lifestyle. For example, James used $34,000 of fraudulent proceeds to purchase season tickets to the Orlando Magic, to travel overseas, for living expenses, and to purchase a 2007 Bentley automobile.
This case was investigated by the Tidewater Complex Financial Crimes Task Force. Members of the Task Force include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa E. O’Boyle is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:15-cr-55.