Federal regulators has charged former Williamson County residents Susan and Richard Olive with fraud related to a Florida-based charitable organization the couple recently ran — less than five years after the pair allegedly scammed seniors from their Franklin home.
In other words, it looks as if the couple was up to their same old tricks.
On Feb. 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in connection with alleged fraud conducted by the Olives via We The People, Inc. of the United States, a purported charity based in Tallahassee.
In its complaint against Richard Olive, We The People’s former chief of program services, and Susan Olive, We The People’s former chief of finance and administration, the commission alleges that the Olives orchestrated a fraudulent scheme that raised more than $75 million from approximately 450 investors, primarily senior citizens, located across the United States.
Investors allegedly were solicited to transfer assets to We The People in exchange for what it called a charitable gift annuity. The SEC alleges that We The People – through the Olives – lured investors by making various false and misleading statements regarding, among other things, the value of the products sold and the safety and security of the investments. A Facebook page describes the charity as follows: "We The People, Inc. of the United States (WTP) is a tax exempt charitable organization that works with financial professionals, estate planning attorneys, and CPA’s to provide tax saving solutions through deductible contributions."
The complaint also alleges that the Olives failed to disclose to investors indictments and regulatory sanctions issued against them for fraudulently selling similar products. In addition to the misrepresentations, the commission alleges that the Olives misappropriated investor funds for personal use.
The Olives, who no longer work with We the People, could not be reached for comment.
Relatedly, the SEC filed a settlement with William Reeves, We The People’s in-house counsel. Without admitting or denying the commission’s allegations, We The People consented to a final judgment providing injunctive relief, disgorgement and the appointment of a receiver to protect the more than $60 million of investor assets We The People still holds.
Reeves could not be reached for comment.
In 2008, The City Paper initially reported on the Olives when they were accused of scamming seniors in a similar fashion under the umbrella of an organization called the National Foundation of America, which was then run out of the couple’s Franklin home. (Read more here.)
The State of Tennessee indicted the Olives on fraud charges in relation to NFA in 2010 and then again in federal court in 2012.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS