Everett Craig Williams was sentenced to 20 years in state prison on July 18 and ordered to pay $189,000 in restitution to investors in a fraudulent real estate program with victims in Nueces, Collin, and Harris counties.
Judge Bobby Galvan of the 94th State District Court of Nueces County sentenced Williams to 20 years for his conviction on a first-degree felony charge of securities fraud and 15 years for second-degree theft. The sentences will run concurrently.
After a two-day trial, the jury on July 12 took 15 minutes to return its verdict against Williams.
The Nueces County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case in conjunction with the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB). Enforcement attorneys with the TSSB served as special prosecutors. The TSSB also investigated the case.
Williams sold securities in the real estate investing program without telling investors he owed millions in civil court judgments, unpaid child support, and judgments against him in bankruptcy proceedings.
Williams also didn't inform investors that some of their money paid his personal expenses and that investors in previous investment programs he sold lost a significant portion of their funds.
Williams sold investment contracts and promissory notes issued by Favor Ministries Inc. that were supposed to generate returns from real estate transactions. A Nueces County grand jury indicted Williams on a theft charge in 2017 at the same time it re-indicted him on the securities fraud charge.
Although Williams was prosecuted for crimes committed in connection with a real estate investment program, evidence introduced at punishment showed Williams also stole money from his family in a separate scheme.
During the punishment phase, a witness testified that Williams acted as a “divorce mediator” and agreed to hold the settlement proceeds of more than $63,000 in trust until the divorce was final.
Williams, however, stole the money and never returned it. The victim was his niece. Prosecutors put on evidence showing that the funds were never held in trust but deposited to an account and spent on personal expenses, including vehicles and college tuition for his daughter.
He failed to disclose court judgments and liens against him going back to 2004.
In 2009, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, ordered Williams to pay a judgment of $2.5 million in damages and attorneys' fees in connection with a credit-repair scam and a fraudulent real estate investment.
Williams has had tax liens of more than $770,000 filed against him.
Other civil matters include a $29,000 lien filed in Nueces County after he failed to make child support payments; a $1.7 million judgment against him in Nueces County Court at Law No. 1; and a $362,296 judgment in the 28th District Court of Nueces County.