Gray bars, not cell towers, is what Daniel Williford, age 55, is going to be looking at for the next nine years. The former U.S. air pilot and Salisbury, NC, businessman was convicted in U.S. Federal Court in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme after he defrauded 100 investors out of almost $18 million, which now is obligated to repay.
According to WBT-TV/Charlotte, NC, Williford promised victims their money would be invested in wireless Internet equipment, Internet towers and other facilities and companies. Instead, court documents say Williford used the majority of the funds to run a Ponzi-style scheme while using a portion to fund his personal lifestyle.
Cindy Adkins and her husband Brent operate a towing service in Statesville and Salisbury, and while they did not invest their money with Williford, they did do business with his company. Several years ago Williford rented space for antennas on a radio tower owned by the Adkins in Salisbury.
“We had trouble in the beginning getting him to sign a lease, giving us insurance information to protect him and us, we had to beg for him to pay us each month, we often times turned the power off to his equipment and then he would pay us. Many times his checks were returned; he even had other people, other local business people, I assume, investors, write checks to us for the rental on the tower,” Adkins said. Some victims said they were unable to retire, that they declared bankruptcy and lost their children’s savings.