JEFFERSON, Ga. - A local investment broker is back in the news again. The Fox 5 I-Team broke this story of retirees who claimed he played a part in cleaning out their bank accounts. Now it's the US Attorney's Office upping the accusations.
And, yes, they use strong words like 'preying on seniors' and back it up with a five-count federal indictment for fraud. His former clients call Winston Wade Turner a smooth talker. He wouldn't return our calls, but his wife certainly had a lot to say about all of it when we visited their luxury home.
Sitting above a championship-caliber golf course, until a few weeks ago this family's biggest concern may have been getting hit with a ball. Today, Winston Wade Turner is dodging a five-count federal indictment.
His wife doesn't buy the charges.
"The FBI. The notorious FBI going after the white collar man for no reason," Tina Turner told us on her front porch.
Her husband wasn't here when the Fox 5 I-Team dropped by their Jefferson, Georgia home, but she invited us in to talk.
"It's just ridiculous. Everything is ridiculous, all of this stuff," she said vigorously defending her husband. He didn't do anything wrong. It's just all mixed up."
But the federal government thinks it is clear. The U.S. Attorney has charged 48-year-old Winston Wade Turner with mail and wire fraud. The indictment alleges he "preyed on seniors and retirees." Prosecutors believe Winston Wade Turner tricked people out of their life savings through an alternative energy investment scheme.
Again his wife, Tina Turner, pushed back.
"We worked hard. He worked hard. We had a bio-diesel company and they tried to tell us we didn't."
But the indictment alleges clients gave Mr. Turner a lot of money. Court documents show one victim wired him more than $111,000 in one day.
"Two of those are my clients," said attorney Jason Doss who talked with the Fox 5 I-Team before about Winston Wade Turner.
Last September his client Wanda Dye told us Mr. Turner ran off with her entire nest egg after claiming to invest it for it.
Here was the teary exchange about the threat of losing her home.
"I've only got enough for two more months."
"Nothing. It's all gone," he said.
Although they didn't sue Mr. Turner, these retirees did sue two large investment companies where he worked as a broker. Ms. Dye has settled her civil case and saved her home. Mr. Thomas's case is still ongoing. Winston Wade Turner was eventually "barred" from the industry for unethical practices.
But the simmering criminal allegations against their former broker are now on the front burner. Attorney Jason Doss filled us in.
"This case has been developing for a very long time. I know that because the FBI spoke to our clients a few years ago."
According to the indictment, Mr. Turner claimed to invest his elderly clients' money into what the government called a "shell company" using a Florida rental mailbox as its headquarters. Winston Wade Turner has pleaded not guilty.
His wife Tina at our visit said she felt sure her husband would want to talk to clear the air.
"That would be great. He wants to talk about that," she said.
We are still awaiting a call from Winston Wade Turner and his court-appointed attorney.