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Wake Forest investment adviser faces fraud charges

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RALEIGH — A Wake Forest investment adviser has been indicted on federal fraud charges, U.S. attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. announced in a press release last week.

Anthony Wayne March, 48, has been charged by a grand jury with one count of securities fraud, three counts of wire fraud, one count of bankruptcy fraud, one count of obstruction of bankruptcy case, three counts of false oaths, and four counts of money laundering.

The indictment alleges that March operated the Rolesville nonprofit Asset Trader between 2012 to 2015. Asset Trader was a purported nonprofit tax-exempt company formerly known as CGA Exchange or The CGA Exchange Inc. Authorities said March, through Asset Trader, offered educational services to professionals and taxpayers in the area of exit planning.

The indictment says Asset Trader used its tax-exempt status to solicit tax-deductible donations in exchange for charitable gift annuities and to recruit referral sources to obtain assets from potential donors. March and his co-conspirators executed a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors by inducing them to invest with Asset Trader, authorities said.

During the course of the scheme, March solicited at least 22 victims to invest over $8.1 million in charitable gift annuities and other products offered by Asset Trader. March, through Asset Trader, sold these securities to victims as retirement or exit planning vehicles classified as donations. Authorities said March did not utilize any of the victim’s money for charitable purposes, rather, he spent the money on Ponzi payments, his own lavish lifestyle, and expenses of the scheme.

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the North Carolina Secretary of State, Securities Division conducted the investigation in this matter. The Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Administrator for the Eastern District of North Carolina provided substantial assistance. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes, Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian Behr, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Harrington represented the U.S.