A Statesboro man who pled guilty Tuesday to wire fraud awaits sentencing by a federal judge after being accused of taking money meant for investments and using it for himself.
Joseph L. Autry, 43, Statesboro, faced United States Senior District Judge B. Avant Edenfield Tuesday, pleading guilty to involvement in "a commodities futures scheme that he ran from May 2008 to Jan. 2010, said U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver.
Autry's specific Statesboro address was not available for release, said First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham. There was no telephone listing for Autry; thus, the Statesboro Herald was unable to reach him for comment.
Evidence presented during the guilty plea hearing showed Autry owned Autry Capital Management LLC, formerly known as Joey Autry LLC (ACM), a company he "operated out of his home and which supposedly specialized in trading commodity futures contracts," Tarver said. "Autry solicited and received approximately $265,000 from numerous investors in Georgia to trade commodity futures contracts."
But Autry did not invest the money as he promised his clients. Instead, he "used customer funds to pay his personal debts and expenses, and also to pay supposed returns to investors using the investor's own funds or funds of other investors," he said.
Autry pled guilty to a single count of wire fraud. A date for sentencing has not yet been set, but Autry faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release, he said.
Autry was released on bond pending the sentencing hearing.
"Investment frauds will be vigorously pursued and prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)," he said.
Tarver said cooperation between the FBI and CFTC brought Autry's criminal activity to light, and praised CFTC staff member Linda Peng and FBI Special Agent Marcus Kirkland in particular for their efforts.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Natalie Lee, he said.