Harsher punishment sought in case

Prosecutors say insurer's sentence isn't adequate

Attorneys hope to increase the punishment for a local insurance agent who pleaded guilty in March to charges that he defrauded at least 16 people out of nearly $2 million.

Federal prosecutors said in a motion filed last week that a prison term of 51 months to 63 months for Walter Williams is not adequate and that the community should treat his case as harshly as drug, gun or more violent crime. He is awaiting his sentencing on a mail fraud charge connected to a financial fraud scheme that lasted roughly 17 years.

Starting 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 friends, family and longtime customers, promising to invest it.

He promised them security in their old age -- or hefty returns on their investments -- and the victims handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the money never made it into the accounts he promised. Federal investigators said Williams used the money for himself.

Prosecutors argue -- in part -- that the Williams case should be treated more harshly in order to deter others from committing similar white-collar crimes.

Many of the victims in the case were more than 70 years old at the time of the initial investments.

Williams is free on bond. A date for his sentencing has not been determined.

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