NC man and group ordered to pay $76 million in civil penalities

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Keith Simmons

Keith Simmons

WEST JEFFERSON, N.C. — A West Jefferson man already serving a 40-year prison term for operating a Ponzi scheme was ordered Friday by a federal judge to help pay $76 million in civil penalties.

Keith Simmons, one-time owner of Black Diamond Capital Solutions LLC and High South Realty in Jefferson, fraudulently solicited and accepted at least a combined $40 million from more than 400 victims across the country, including Ashe County.

Nearly 100 were older than 75, and many lost their life savings. Prosecutors called Black Diamond “the worst financial crime in this district in memory.”

Simmons was convicted by a jury of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering in December 2010. He was ordered to pay $35 million in criminal restitution. He was sentenced in May 2012.

Read more: Winston-Salem Journal