Extremist Who Once Led SCV Pleads to $59 Million Rip-Off

Ron G. Wilson, a former national commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) who was part of an extremist bid to take over the Southern heritage group, pleaded guilty after being accused by the South Carolina attorney general of defrauding investors in his company, Atlantic Bullion & Coin.

Wilson, who also served for a time on the South Carolina Board of Education, pleaded on July 30 to two counts of mail fraud in an agreement in which he admitted cheating at least 800 investors out of $59 million over an 11-year period. The scheme entailed buying silver with investors’ money, then telling them, falsely, that their silver was being safely stored in a Delaware depository. In the plea agreement, Wilson admitted that he used “fictitious account statements” and “used money for my personal benefit.” He faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and three years of supervised release when he is sentenced.

Wilson was for a time a major player in the neo-Confederate movement, especially during his 2002-2004 stint as the SCV’s top leader. Allied with white supremacist lawyer Kirk Lyons, Wilson worked with racial hard-liners seeking to take over the SCV. He appointed racists and anti-Semites to key posts and purged some 300 members for publicly opposing racism within the SCV. Ultimately, thousands of members left the organization and its reputation suffered.

Earlier, Wilson had authored five essays about the evils of communism (one praising the legacy of disgraced Sen. Joseph McCarthy) for the tabloid of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which has called black people “a retrograde species of humanity.” He also spoke at a 1997 CCC meeting.

In addition, along with hawking investments in gold and silver, Wilson has sold from his home a book called Barbarians Inside the Gates, written by 1960s Defense Department official Donn de Grand Pré. The tome is viciously anti-Semitic and approvingly quotes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous Czarist forgery that purports to reveal a Jewish plot to take over the world.

Lyons, who has long considered Wilson a close friend, declined to comment beyond criticizing the Southern Poverty Law Center, which wrote extensively about Wilson and Lyons during their SCV takeover attempt.