Wilton Manors Gay Ponzi Schemer Jim Ellis Charged by Federal Government
It's no longer a mystery or subject for debate - Jim Ellis is facing criminal charges from the federal government.
Specifically, he's facing a felony conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ellis has been connected to the Wilton Station Ponzi Scheme since it began attracting the media's attention in February. Accusers said Ellis conned them into investing with now-indicted Ponzi schemer George Elia, enriching both in the process.
Ellis allegedly provided prospective investors with expensive lunches and lavish parties, while gaining their trust to acquire their funds. He allegedly reassured targets that he himself was making large fortunes by investing his own inheritance of over $5 million with Elia.
From the beginning, Ellis was adamant that he was a victim himself, but the indictment by the government has turned the tide on what was until now largely a he-said-she-said contest.
Court documents acquired in late October by SFGN revealed that Ellis, facing indictment as a co-conspirator, may have taken a plea bargain to reduce his sentence. The documents reveal the federal government's intention to seek a "Second Superseding Indictment," naming an additional party and new charges.
"The government anticipates that the Second Superseding Indictment (SSI) will add a new conspiracy count and will identify a conspirator, who recently admitted his involvement and is willing to testify at trial against Elia," the documents read. "After the return of the anticipated SSI, both defendants will need to be arraigned."
Elia's trial is set for March of 2013, but could now be postponed by the superseding indictment naming Ellis as well.
One victim alleges that Ellis is only the tip of the iceberg.
"He is just one in a series of thieves that have to be dealt with," said Rick Khun, one of over a dozen alleged victims who've been pursuing Ellis in civil court for more $8 million in damages. "The dominoes are starting to fall, but there other issues that need to be addressed, like Wilton Station."
Ellis's daughter, Janet Ellis, who used to host the very parties at which victims allege Ellis sweet-talked them into bad investments, appears to be still untouched by the entire ordeal. She works for Continental Management, the company that runs Wilton Station, an upper-class community in Wilton Manors where many of the alleged victims live.
During the course of SFGN's investigation, numerous allegations accused her of having abused her access to the tenants' financial information, in order to determine their value as targets for Elia's Ponzi scheme.
Continental has defended Janet since allegations first arose, and she is still employed by the company.
"All of the professional people that live here - the lawyers, the doctors - they're all leaving," Khun told SFGN. Khun has called upon both Continental and the Wilton Station board to get rid of Janet Ellis, arguing that she is too close to the alleged wrongdoing.
Khun stated, "No one's done anything to her. In lieu of the serious allegations that are so close to the vest of [Janet], it's about time the state did a financial audit of the books."