Official from bogus credit union makes first appearance in court
Published: March 1, 2014
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ST. THOMAS - The numerous aliases used by the former comptroller of a bogus credit union may have delayed his first day in V.I. Superior Court, but it still came Friday.
John Wesley Williams' criminal record showed that he used a multitude of names, including "Iam Magic," to evade law enforcement officials since they issued a warrant for his arrest more than a year ago, in February 2013.
Williams, 47, was arrested Feb. 12 by the Denver Police Department, though he was not advised of his rights until her arrived in the Virgin Islands on Friday, when he appeared before Magistrate Henry Carr III.
Last February, warrants were issued for Williams and Stan McDuffie, the founder of Her Majesty's Credit Union.
McDuffie, also 47, was arrested immediately and posted bail, but Williams eluded the V.I. Justice Department for almost a year.
V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer confirmed Tuesday that Williams had been arrested in Denver.
McDuffie and Williams are accused of obtaining money by false pretenses; conspiracy; embezzlement by fiduciaries; as well as violating the territory's anti-racketeering statute - the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The credit union, which was in Tutu Park Mall, St. Thomas, abruptly closed its doors to the public two years ago. Many of its members lost the money they had deposited and to date have not gotten any of it back.
In February 2012, The Daily News began to look into the credit union after getting calls from members who could no longer access their money. The day after an investigative report was published in the newspaper in April, Frazer announced a joint investigation with the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
As part of the investigation, Justice officials had been in regular communication with McDuffie, and when the warrant was issued, they offered him the opportunity to turn himself in. He flew to the territory from his home in Colorado,
A waiver allowed him to leave the territory, but if he fails to appear as required by the court, Virgin Islands officials can go to Colorado and bring him back.
Frazer said previously that McDuffie and Williams are the only principals of the credit union - or its parent company, Jilapuhn - who are facing criminal charges.
Williams and McDuffie both have used aliases.
Just a few of Williams' listed aliases included Iam Magic, Scatter Blackford, Siky Williams and Jesse Ferro. According to court records, he also had a criminal record in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
McDuffie, who is the chief executive officer of Jilapuhn, used aliases as well, including Stan Roberson, Stan Roberson-Battle and Stanley Battle.
He is facing civil charges in federal court filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has been jailed in the past for refusing to cooperate with state investigators in Colorado looking into possible fraud.
Between August 2008 and March 2012, Her Majesty's Credit Union collected more than $500,000 from its members, according to the affidavit filed by V.I. Justice Department Special Investigations Division Director James McCall.
There are no guarantees that the victims will get their money back, but if McDuffie is convicted of the charges against him, it is more likely, according to Justice officials.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.