San Diego, California - United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that William Ison pled guilty Friday to defrauding investors, including San Diego residents, of nearly $7 million. According to documents filed in federal court, Ison obtained these funds between March 2008 and September 2012 by falsely claiming that the funds would be secured by his own mining company which was supposedly worth billions of dollars.

In his guilty plea, Ison admitted helping Douglas Ellingson (who previously pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing) solicit investors for “private placement programs” through Ellingson’s business entity, Destiny’s Partners Ventures. Among other things, Ison gave presentations to potential investors at seminars throughout the United States, in which he made fraudulent representations to induce individuals to invest with Ellingson. These false representations included the claim that investors’ funds would not be subject to risk as they were backed by Ison’s multi-billion dollar mining company.

In order to mislead investors, Ison claimed that his role as President of Blue Diamond Excavation, Inc. (“BDE”), a mining excavation company based in Newport Beach, allowed him to safely secure loans as its assets were worth $86 billion. In fact, BDE had yet to begin mining operations or produce any income from mining. Ison embellished his story by falsely telling investors that he had already used BDE’s assets to secure medium-term notes (“MTNs”) valued at $2-2.5 billion. Ison went so far as to claim that individuals had already committed to purchase one MTN worth $250 million as a “guaranteed exit sale” in the event capital was required to replace investor funds. In fact, Ison had not obtained any MTNs and no buyers had been secured.

Ison also misled potential investors by claiming that he had already been involved with incredibly successful investment programs in which he had personally made more than $100 million. He also lied to investors by telling them that he managed a consortium of large non-profit foundations that donated more than a trillion dollars annually to various humanitarian causes. During his plea, Ison admitted that he had not received such profits, did not personally manage active non-profit foundations, and that the claimed donations were fictitious.

Ellingson and Ison initially wire-transferred investor funds for placement in the Winsome Investment Trust, through James Pantazelos and Robert Andres. Both Pantazelos and Andres have already pled guilty for their roles in the fraud scheme. Pantazelos was sentenced in Chicago to 114 months in custody on February 15, 2013, and ordered to pay over $3.3 million in restitution (United States v. Pantazelos, No. 11CR50078 (N.D. Ill. 2011)). Andres is presently scheduled to be sentenced in Utah on September 1, 2014 (United States v. Andres, No. 11CR0985-RJS (D. Utah 2011).

Ison entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw, and he is scheduled for sentencing on January 30, 2015. Ellingson is presently scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Sabraw on October 24, 2014.

DEFENDANT

  • William Ison
  • Age: 54

Case Number: 12CR4030-DMS

CHARGES

  • Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371, 1343 (Wire Fraud Conspiracy)
  • Maximum penalty: five years of custody; $250,000 Fine (or twice the gross loss of the offense)

INVESTIGATING AGENCY

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Internal Revenue Service