An Orange County man accused of defrauding an elderly couple of nearly $5 million by promising to extract gold from old mines was set to be arraigned today.
John Arthur Walthall was indicted by a grand jury in October for wire fraud, money laundering, and other violations. He was arrested last Thursday.
According to the indictment, Walthall convinced the couple to invest in a partnership called "Advanced Recycling General Partners" which was supposed to search for and extract gold from old mines in the Imperial Valley, Nevada, and Brazil.
Walthall told the couple that he had invested over $3 million of his own money over the past decade researching the gold extraction process and that, as partners, the couple would receive a salary and that expenses would be approved beforehand by each partner.
According to the Los Angeles bureau of the FBI, the majority of the money was used by Waltham for his own gold investments and personal expenses, including alimony and child support for his four children and purchasing multiple vehicles and other luxury items. This includes a hyperbaric oxygen chamber worth approximately $60,000 and a $10,000 payment to a film school.
When FBI agents arrested Walthall, they found approximately $500,000 in gold coins under his bed. They also seized three vehicles he'd purchased with investor money, including two Ford Excursions and a Ford 450 pick-up truck.
When agents arrested Walthall last week, they conducted a consensual search of the residence and found approximately $500,000 in gold coins under his bed. Agents also seized three vehicles Walthall had purchased with investor money, to include two Ford Excursions and a Ford 450 pick-up truck.