HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The owner of a Henrico County company could be headed to prison for his role in a Ponzi scheme under a plea agreement reached Tuesday.
David Silver pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He was business partners with Donald Lacey — a former Henrico County cop turned real estate agent — who is now serving 10 years in federal prison for running a Ponzi scheme. Lacey duped 136 investors out of more than $15 million.
Silver will be sentence on June 25. He faces up to 5 years in prison and a 250-thousand dollar fine. Silver could have faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison had he been convicted at trial.
He had previously maintained he was a victim of the Ponzi scheme, including when he sat down nearly three years ago with NBC12 for his only interview to apologize to his investors at Old Dominion Financial Services.
"I spend many a sleepless night thinking about what they've lost and wishing this has never ever happened," said Silver. His family ran the now-defunct company for more than 30 years. He met Donald Lacey in 2000 and decided to go into business.
Silver funneled money from his investors to Lacey. It was supposed to be used to buy and flip fixer uppers.
"I was duped," he told us in 2009. "I felt from day one I was dealing with a straight shooter, and up until the day he pulled the rug, I had no reason to believe otherwise."
Most of the houses were never touched. The money went to Lacey's lavish lifestyle — and to make the interest payments to investors to keep the Ponzi scheme going.
"I personally own an investment on a house where a tree is growing through a wall," said Silver, but several investors have maintained from the beginning Silver could have done more.
"He was definitely negligent in seeing what was going on with these properties," said investor Marc Denning. "He lives here. He was supposed to do spot checks on these houses."
The federal government accused Silver of making multiple misrepresentations to his Old Dominion clients regarding how their investments would be protected. Prosecutors also say Silver told investors that Old Dominion was lending to a diversified group of builders, but all of the funds were just given to Lacey.