Billionaire Brothers Samuel and Charles Wyly Charged With $550 Million Fraud

Billionaire brothers Samuel Wyly (pictured) and Charles Wyly were charged Thursday by the Securities & Exchange Commission with orchestrating a 13-year-long securities fraud that reaped them $550 million in undisclosed gains that were hidden in a series of transactions in the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands tax havens.

The SEC alleges that the brothers created an "elaborate sham system of trusts and subsidiary companies" to sell more than $750 million worth of stock in four public companies for which they were corporate directors. The brothers also allegedly committed an insider-trading violation connected to one of the companies for an unlawful gain of more than $31.7 million.

According to the SEC, the shares that the Wylys sold in the alleged scheme were of Michaels Stores, Sterling Software, Sterling Commerce, and Scottish Annuity & Life Holdings. The SEC also charged the Wyly's attorney, Michael C. French, and their stockbroker, Louis J. Schaufele III. French was on the board of directors at three of the companies.

"The cloak of secrecy has been lifted from the complex web of foreign structures used by the Wylys to evade the securities laws," said Lorin L. Reisner, deputy director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, in a press release. "They used these structures to conceal hundreds of millions of dollars of gains in violation of the disclosure requirements for corporate insiders."

The Wylys have denied the charges and vowed to vigorously defend themselves, according to a statement obtained by Reuters.

The Texas businessmen are hardly the only billionaires caught in the regulatory cross hairs at the moment. As Forbes notes, R. Allen Stanford, a fellow Texan, faces charges that he defrauded investors. Insider-trading charges against another Lone Star state resident, Dallas Mavericks owner and HDNet Chairman Mark Cuban, were dismissed last year.

The conservative Wylys are also active politically. In 2000, a Samuel Wyly-backed group paid for ads praising the environmental record of George W. Bush during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. His memoir, 1,000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire, was praised for offering a candid look at his rise from from the Texas cotton fields during the Depression to becoming a entrepreneur and environmentalist.

The book's website says it "describes how his character was shaped, making him the spiritual, optimistic and determined man and entrepreneur he is today."

Those traits may come in handy as he battles the government.

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Her is just another example of the already rich being greedy. The SEC needs to regulate all of these guys at a more closer level. Madoff, Goldman Sachs and now these guys and I will be willing to bet there are many more. Yet the Republicans, right wing media, Glen Beck, Hannity and the like, insist on blaming Obama for the financial mess this country is in. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, if anyone believes that the President of the United States is to blame, then I will just say to you. Denial is the culprit of society.

August 01 2010 at 7:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

NOT all rich people but the greedy corrupt ones will burn in hell

August 01 2010 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who's more corrupt?Conservatives in Texas or conservatives in South Carolina?

August 01 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Dan's comment


August 01 2010 at 1:18 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Horst's comment

Your a dumb a.. dont even go there with this B--K House nonsense. These brothers are just greedy jus like Madoff and the others who havent been caught yet. TO make you look even stupider than your comment all of this corruption thats being exposed was done under the watch of Bush, who is the one the resp. For the economy being the way it is now. ITS BUSH'S FAULT FOR THE ECONOMY. ITS BUSH'S FAULT FOR OUR SOLDIER LOSING THERE LIVES OVERSEAS. ITS BUSH'S FAULT FOR 911 CAUSE HE DID IT. YET YOU AND ALOT OF OTHER DUMB A.... BLAME OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT WHO HASNT EVEN DONE HALF OF HIS TERM YET. YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF THE TEA PARTY. A BUNCH OF DUMB A.....

August 01 2010 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i just dont understand why anyone would be committing crimes when they are millionaires. buy a house on a beach and sit on the beach with your russian wife, is that so hard?

August 01 2010 at 12:35 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Wonder if they'll get a slap on the wrist like (D) Charlie Rangel or (D) Maxine Waters???

August 01 2010 at 12:22 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

The republicans want to give these billionaires more huge tax cuts.

August 01 2010 at 11:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to andrc657's comment
dc walker

why would republicans want to give rich corrupt democrats more tax cuts????

August 01 2010 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The republicans should give tax cuts to middle income folks who are working harder than ever but who could use a bit of extra money each week. The republicans should not give more tax cuts to the very wealthy who have more money than they need.

August 01 2010 at 2:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

What people fail to understand: is that whole system in corrupt. I worked for myself my whole life and did well. But the system is not fair. Many people worked harder than I and failed. Otheres did less and are far more sucessful.
This idea that free enterprize was sent from the man the sky and we should all accept in, is brain washing by guilt: we get what we deserve. That is why people cheat on there taxes, insurance companies, casinos, banks, and why they(the big companies) are always cheating the public in some subtle way. Cheating is really part of our system, as is getting caught. The Eron scam and others could technically go on for ever , if people kept buying and selling their stocks as if they had value. Ask Kramer. It is still the best system, we just need not to delude ourselves and make sure everyone has health care and does not go hungry, if we are going to call ourselves anything but greedy and inhumane.

August 01 2010 at 11:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I used to think how it was sorry that the rich rode to power and wealth on the backs of the poor,Now i think how the rich are riding the outskirts of the law and any sense of moral treatment of others is out the window.Now the rich simply steal from everyone rich poor or the government and say to hell with all of us as long as i am getting ritch its ok.Also dont even think so lawyer is gonna take um on because politicians for the most part are rich lawyers that figured out the "loopholes" for there cronies to steal buy so they can charge million to defend them.

August 01 2010 at 7:58 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mfoxfire's comment


August 01 2010 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you want to know who the real Robber Barrons are, consider these facts: 1/ Eight out of the top ten richest members of Congress are Democrats who want you to pay lots of taxes, but avoid taxes for themselves(think John Kerry, who takes advantage of lots of loopholes that ordinary people don't have). 2/ The same crooks who are running Congress today are the ones who pushed financial institutions to give mortgages to people who had no way of paying them back; the committees they chaired did nothing to curtail financial institutions from creating dangerous financial instruments. On the contrary, they encouraged these practices. These crooks are still in positions of power (Think Barney Frank, Stenny Hoyer, Joe Biden). 3/ The top Democrats set the example for corporate CEO's to follow in being sly, sneaky, ruthless, deceitful, self-serving, and underhanded. Why shouldn't corporations do what the top Democrats are so good at doing. (Think of the example of Bill and Hillary, who started out with little or nothing, and now are springing millions for their daughter's wedding (to the son of another crook). They owe their millions to kickbacks and laundered money. Think of all the lives of people around them that they destroyed as they ruthlessly clawed their way to power).

August 01 2010 at 1:34 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mkra's comment

you are so wrong your comment has nothing to do with this story ,one thing for certain is you are out numbered and the democrats will get re elected to finnish the clean up of all the dirty deeds that the republicans have done ,over the last thirty years only 9 1/2 years were democrats ,Clinton left a surplus that dubbya quickly squanderd plus a whole lot more, you canot blame congress because the president has the power to veto now obama has a huge mess to clean up , the people will not for get the dirty deeds of the republicans who are always for the wealthy rich people at the top and their trikle down thinking !

August 01 2010 at 8:17 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

you are a lost sole beleiving in all this propergander

August 01 2010 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply