Ex-agent gets fines, prison in wire fraud, tax case

A former insurance agent and owner of two Summerville-based financial services firms has been sentenced to 31/2 years in prison for wire fraud and filing a false federal income tax return.

Timothy David Mays, 51, also was ordered to pay $583,087 in restitution to his victims, who were mostly retirees, and $127,051 to the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said Monday.

Mays, who lives in Walterboro, pleaded guilty in November 2014 of spending more than $580,000 of his clients’ funds on business and personal expenses.

A state-licensed insurance salesman, Mays was CEO of Mays Group Financial and Life Trust Financial LLC, which were based in Summerville.

According to the indictment, the fraud took place between November 2008 and June 2011. It involved 17 mostly elderly individuals and couples who gave Mays a total of $1.09 million to invest in annuities and certificates of deposit.

To attract business, he promised higher returns on CDs than even the financial institutions that issued the interest-bearing instruments.

“Mays made all these representations knowing that he did not have any working relationship with the named banks to sell CDs or any investment products,” Nettles’ office said in a written statement.

Mays invested about $200,000, but he also wired funds to his personal account and spent about $583,000 “on a variety of personal” expenses, according to the indictment. It went toward child support, medical bills, rent, utilities, unspecified luxury goods, vacations and an automobile, court documents showed.

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Mays turned in about $104,000 to law enforcement officials after they began investigating him.

Also, before he was indicted, he had returned about $203,000 to four clients who had raised suspicions.

Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS also learned that Mays filed a false tax return for 2006 by underreporting his income by about $85,000. U.S. District Judge David C. Norton sentenced him Wednesday to three years for that count, which he will serve concurrently with the 42-month prison term for wire fraud.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572.