Two Atlanta-area men get prison for $5 million Ponzi scheme

Two metro Atlanta men have been sentenced to federal prison for running a real estate-based Ponzi scheme that took in $5 million from investors.

Charles Wooden, 48, of Stone Mountain, was sentenced to seven years in prison and must pay $2.4 million in restitution. Hendrickx Toussaint, 44, of Decatur, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.

U.S. Attorney John Horn said that around 2009 Wooden, doing business as Aeon Capital Management, acted as a real estate broker who bought for foreign and out-of-state investors residential properties that could be flipped for a quick profit or managed. Wooden was to pass on to investors their share of the rental funds.

Toussaint, then an attorney, would escrow investor funds and close real estate purchases for Wooden and the investors.

Investors put in more than $5 million with Wooden and Toussaint from 2009 to 2012 to buy Atlanta area real estate. Wooden bought some properties for investors, but he and Toussaint did not use the vast majority of investors’ funds as they had promised, Horn said. Wooden used funds from investors for his personal and business interests and to pay “profits” from short-term real estate “flips,” that never occurred, Horn said. Funds were also used to pay rental income to investors from properties that had not been purchased. When one investor sued Wooden, he used funds from another victim to settle the investor’s lawsuit.

Wooden and Toussaint provided fake documents to the investors to conceal that their monies had not been used to purchase real estate, according to Horn.