CORNWALL, Ontario - A former city alderman and major junior hockey team owner won't be back in Canada any time soon.
Willie Wise, who pleaded guilty last year to bilking investors out of millions via a U.S. Ponzi scheme, will be sentenced to a lengthy U.S. prison term in September and will be barred from applying to re-enter Canada for a time as well.
A representative in the U.S. Attorney's office in California confirmed a sentencing date of Sept. 11. He was originally slated to be sentenced March 13.
Wise is looking at a prison term that could be measured in decades, and won't be allowed to apply to return to Canada until one-third, or 54 months, of his sentence is served in the U.S. - whichever is greatest.
Documents posted online provide intricate details of how Wise and his co-defendant Jacquline Hoegel of the embattled Millennium Bank, United Trust of Switzerland and Sterling Bank and Trust drew on investments (or certificates of deposit) from about 1,200 individuals between 2004 and 2009 - creating what would become a $129.5-million Ponzi scheme that left many investors penniless.
"The Millennium entities did not use investor funds to make overseas investments," reads the plea deal Wise signed late last summer. "Instead, as we both knew, Millennium entities were a Ponzi scheme through which earlier investors' guaranteed interest payments consisted of later investor's funds."
Wise had been on the run from American authorities until he surrendered in April last year.
He pleaded guilty in September 2012 to 18 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and tax evasion.
Wise has also promised, in his plea agreement, to work undercover with law enforcement officials to further investigations.
Wise lived a lavish lifestyle before the Ponzi scheme fell apart and he became the subject of a U.S. government investigation.
Wise flew in private jets, lived in mansions in both the U.S. and Caribbean and had closets filled with custom-made suits.
“The individuals who commit these crimes have no regard for the well-being of their victims – only the desire to make a quick buck," said Thomas G. Walker, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, last year. "United States Attorney’s offices, along with federal, state and local law enforcement officials, work diligently each and every day to see that those who commit these crimes are the ones who pay.”