An Augusta businessman pleaded guilty in federal court today to investment schemes that took $1.7 million from friends and associates
Walter Marion Williams will be sentenced on mail fraud charges at a later date, federal prosecutors said.
Among the victims of Williams were Dan and Mildred McAvoy who will never know how much of their money Williams stole.
The Washington, Ga., couple died last year just a few months before the FBI began investigating Williams, an Augusta insurance agent, on accusations that he defrauded at least 16 investors out of more than a million dollars. Dan was a small-time turkey farmer. Mildred, his wife, was a seamstress for a textile plant.
The couple didn't have much money, but what they did have, they saved for their children. All of that is gone now.
"They believed that he was a trustworthy person and a good Christian," said Claudia McAvoy, the couple's daughter-in-law. "They never would have thought he would have done anything like this."
What Williams did - to devastating effect - was to devise a scheme that ultimately led to the theft of $1.7 million.
Today he stood before many of those same people in federal court to plead guilty for those crimes.
Over about a 17-year period that began in May 1992, Williams, who at one time owned the insurance and investment company Walt Williams Insurance Associates on Wheeler Road, took thousands from his clients to invest in what he claimed where high-return investments, according to information presented in federal court today.