Louisville, Tn., Woman Gets Lengthy Federal Prison Term For Her Part In Ponzi Scheme

Monday, April 20, 2015
A Louisville, Tn., woman has been sentenced to serve 360 months in federal prison for her part in a scheme at Knoxville's Benchmark Capital.
 
Joyce Allen, 67, appeared before Judge Thomas A. Varlan. She was immediately taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service following the sentencing hearing.
 
She was ordered to pay $20,711,371.72 in restitution.  Forfeiture of the same cash amount was also ordered by the court. 
 
After a September 2014 jury trial, Ms. Allen was found guilty of charges contained in a March 2014 superseding indictment against her and five other individuals associated with Benchmark Capital, a Knoxville business owned by Charles D. Candler. 
 
Prosecutors said, "The business purpose of Benchmark was to defraud investors by taking their funds in exchange for worthless and non-existent investments, and paying a portion of the funds received to earlier investors under the guise of paying dividends, interest and mortgage payments, thereby encouraging new investors to entrust their funds to Benchmark." 
 
Ms. Allen was the president of J. Allen and Associates, Inc., based in Louisville, Tn.  Through this business, she induced individuals to pay funds to her in exchange for annuity investments with Benchmark, knowing that these funds would not be placed with Benchmark or any other company for investments, but converted to personal use by Allen and her other co-conspirators, it was stated.
 
The other five individuals named in the superseding indictment pleaded guilty and have been previously sentenced by the U.S. District Court.  Candler died in March 2012 before he could be charged in the conspiracy.
 
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian stated, “We are pleased with this lengthy sentence and the message it sends to others who use or consider using their positions of trust to defraud innocent victims.  This case is a good example of how law enforcement agencies working together can bring individuals to justice for their criminal acts.”
 
"The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure the U.S. Mails are not utilized as a tool to defraud victims in these types of Ponzi schemes” said Thomas Noyes, II, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division.
     
“IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling complex fraud and money laundering schemes.   We are proud to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute individuals who attempt to enrich themselves by fraudulent means," stated Christopher A. Henry, Special Agent in Charge.  “Today’s sentencing should send a clear message to those who would consider conducting or participating in these types of fraudulent financial transactions.”
 
“Money laundering and fraudulent investments have a devastating impact on the community.  Those who steal money from victims who are attempting to save money for their future will pay a high price through the criminal justice system,” said Edward Reinhold, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Knoxville Division. 
 
        The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Dale, Jr., and Jennifer Kolman represented the United States at trial.
 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, BRANDON MONTEZ  3216 GLEASON DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37412  Age at Arrest: 22 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FELONY EVADING ARREST DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE SPEEDING --- BELL, TYRELL LOVELL  2115 12TH ST CHATTANOOGA, ... (click for more)

Portion Of Roof Of Building Next To First Tennessee Pavilion Collapses

A portion of a roof on an old brick building next to the First Tennessee Pavilion by Finley Stadium collapsed on Friday. City public works employees were clearing the rubble and seeking to temporarily stabilize the building. Officials said steps would be taken to have it completely demolished. It was part of an old factory once at the site. The building is jointly owned ... (click for more)

White Coat Syndrome And The Medical System - And Response (2)

Today I wish to share what I am feeling as a patient in our medical system. I am too old to put on airs at this point, and this is too pervasive of a problem for me to contain.   As I enter my AARP years, I am faced with so many medical encounters that evoke all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. I dread physician’s appointments riddled with government regulatory hypocrisy, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Readers Are Right

It is hardly a secret that since I have become intensely interested in public education in Chattanooga, I have tried to read, research and understand how our efforts have fallen horribly short in the last 15 years. We agree we have a crisis on many fronts and I hope it is equally obvious I am desperate for solutions. Much like school board member Karista Jones, I worry that we are ... (click for more)

Morgan, Smith, Parrott Pace Lady Pounders Past Bearettes 6-0

Maybe Central softball coach LeeAnne Shurette won’t nag her Lady Pounders so much in the coming days. Central collected eight hits, including two-run singles by Tatum Morgan and Janara Smith, on Friday to back Brooke Parrott’s three-hitter and the Lady Pounders defeated Bradley Central 6-0 in the East Hamilton tournament at The Summit. “Shurette has been nagging, maybe ... (click for more)

McCallie Earns 3-1 Soccer Win Over Rival Baylor

When his team needed him the most, McCallie senior Drew Viscomi did what he does best. Two minutes after the Blue Tornado allowed an equalizer to rival Baylor in the Division II Mid-East Region soccer match on the Red Raiders’ home field, Viscomi’s strike put his team back on top. Five minutes later, the All-American and school single-season scoring leader ... (click for more)