Larry Duwayne Woods, 69, pled guilty in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, to wire fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten of Florence, South Carolina, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that in 2004 and 2005, David Thomas Hix and Jeffrey Shoup (as previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, both were previously convicted for related charges) were operating T&J Development Inc. and attempted to develop condominium and marine projects in North Myrtle Beach called Bahama Island and Crystal Palace. Hix and Shoup unsuccessfully attempted to obtain financing from banks. They were then introduced to Larry Duwayne Woods who promised that he could finance the properties by providing $145,000,000 in financing. Hix and Shoup had been pre-selling the condominium units resulting in over $5,000,000 being placed in an account at the National Bank of South Carolina (NBSC), Myrtle Beach.
Woods convinced Hix and Shoup that they needed to wire this money to a stock account, which he had opened in New York. On October 10, 2006, Hix and Shoup wired $3,500,000 from the NBSC account to Woods‘ New York account. Woods returned some of the money, which was used to pay investors or misused by Hix and Shoup. Approximately $2.200,000 of the money was kept by Woods.
The maximum penalty Woods can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.
United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced the guilty plea.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys William E. Day, II, of the Florence office, and Winston Holliday and Jamie Schoen, of the Columbia office, handled the case.