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Wilcox Pleads Guilty To Offering or Selling Unregistered Securities


MADISON - Jeffrey Wilcox, 47, a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, entered pleas of guilty and was sentenced yesterday in Dane County Circuit Court on two felony counts of willfully offering and selling securities that he failed to properly register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The charges were brought by the Wisconsin Department of Justice following an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Division of Securities, according to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.


Judge Shelley J. Gaylord, who presided over yesterday's hearing, sentenced Wilcox to 24 months in prison followed by a total of 10 years extended supervision. At the joint recommendation of the State and the defendant, Judge Gaylord also ordered Wilcox to pay full restitution to victims, totaling $752,566.


In addition to the two felony counts to which Wilcox pled, in determining the sentence, the Court also considered over 140 additional fraudulent transactions involving unregistered securities.


According to the amended criminal complaint, Wilcox founded and was owner of Eternal Presence, Inc., which he incorporated in Nevada. Through Eternal Presence, Wilcox proposed to manufacture and market personal handheld memorials. Between July 1999 and January 2001, Wilcox invited investors to purchase promissory notes issued by Eternal Presence. The amended complaint alleges that Wilcox also hosted investor meetings in Appleton in 2000 and, at that time, and later, Wilcox asked the investors to extend the maturity dates of the promissory notes. However, at no time did Wilcox reveal to the investors that he had filed for bankruptcy in July 1999 or that his bankruptcy was discharged in November 1999. The amended complaint also alleges that Wilcox misrepresented that another company had offered to purchase Eternal Presence for $20 million. Furthermore, according to the amended complaint, in 2000, Wilcox was informed by an attorney that his actions were illegal and that each promissory note was a securities violation. Wilcox nevertheless continued to solicit investments in Eternal Presence.


The amended complaint identifies 78 different individuals who invested a total of $752,566.


"The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Financial Institutions to prosecute illegal securities fraud," Van Hollen said. "White collar crime is not victimless."


Assistant Attorney General Paul Barnett represented the State at the hearing. The State was initially represented by former Assistant Attorney General Juan Colas, who has recently been appointed a judge for the Dane County Circuit Court.