Biltmore investors still waiting
It has been nearly four years since J.V. Huffman Jr.'s elaborate ponzi scheme unravelled, and the investors who trusted him with millions of dollars are still waiting for resolution.
Meanwhile, as payments have been approved to attorneys, accountants, auctioneers and realtors for more than $327,000, about 500 people who invested up to $25 million haven't seen a dime of their money returned.
"We feel like they are just hee-hawing around and paying out all this money," said Brenda Sigmon, one of hundreds of people who fell victim to Huffman's fraudulent scheme. "I don't think we're any closer (to resolution), my husband doesn't, and the other investors don't."
A packet that arrived recently at the homes of Huffman's victims didn't instill any more confidence either. Inside, court-appointed receiver and Charlotte attorney William Walt Petit included a series of documents reporting his progress in liquidating assets held by Huffman and his company Biltmore Financial Group.
"That is the first thing we ever got from them," Sigmon said. "That is the first time we ever got a package. The way I find out things is I call them, but they were supposed to keep it on the Internet, but we don't have the Internet.
Sigmon said she knows people who can access the Internet and the receiver's website at www.hskplaw.com, but, until recently, the site hasn't included much of an update either.
"They finally posted this new report last week, but that is the first time they posted anything in two years," she said, adding that for her, the packet postmarked July 30 is the first documents she has received for her records. "We never even got a confirmation about our investment, if they have the right information or anything about what we invested."
Sigmon said she has an idea why victims received an information packet after a couple years with very little — if any — communication from the receiver, Petit.
"The receiver did not do this on their own. They would not have done this, I don't think, if we hadn't got a hold of Kay Hagan, and she got the SEC involved in this."
Sigmon said she and other investors wrote to Hagan seeking help from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). A pair of letters, also included in the packet received by defrauded investors, includes some of the same questions those victims asked, Sigmon said.
To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.