An investor in a possibly nonexistent real-estate venture headed by his friend Billy Frank Davis tells Chronicle reporter Mike Tolson that Davis didn’t let on to his friends that other friends had also invested with him: “He didn’t want word of mouth. Bill’s image was always the most important thing to him. He always portrayed himself as a very successful and wealthy person. Everybody thought Bill had money.” On Monday, the disbarred attorney pled guilty to a single count of wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme that bilked his friends and golfing buddies at the Champions Golf Club, the River Oaks Country Club, and the Braeburn Country Club out of $7.8 million. According to Tolson’s report, however, the losses may have been much higher than that.
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What were Davis’s real-estate investments? An FBI release says he had “some legitimate business activity” over the last decade, but that “a substantial portion” of the money he collected from would-be investors was simply used to pay off old debts and the costs of maintaining his “personal lifestyle.” “He got overextended and used money from new investors to pay old investors,” his attorney tells Tolson. “He confessed what he did to investors before there was any investigation and is incredibly remorseful for what he did.”
- Handshake deals on golf courses all part of $7.8 million con game [Houston Chronicle]
- Former Attorney Pleads Guilty to $7 Million Ponzi Scheme [FBI]
Photo: Champions Golf Club