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Hall law authorities on hunt for Spell

Alleged Ponzi schemer wanted on bad check charge

POSTED: January 18, 2009 1:00 a.m.
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Wendell Spell

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Where in the world is Wendell Spell?

Hall County deputies looking for the Gainesville businessman suspected of bilking local investors out of millions don’t know the answer. And for the first time since Spell skipped town in October when his alleged Ponzi scheme crumbled, he is a wanted man.

Federal authorities continue to investigate Spell’s dealings through his now-closed business, North Georgia Equipment Sales, but so far no indictments have been returned in the case. Spell is alleged to have paid those who invested in heavy equipment purchases with the money of other investors.

Instead, a man who some believe may have conned his victims for as much as $30 million is wanted for writing a bad check for $2,100.

Officials with Lanier Flight Center took out a warrant for felony deposit account fraud against Spell on Dec. 31, but Hall County Sheriff’s officials have been unable to serve it.

"We have had deputies checking several locations all during the week, but we have been unable to locate him," Hall County Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland said.

Spell’s Clermont home is vacant, locked up and for sale, Strickland said. The real estate agent handling the property hasn’t heard from him recently.

An unnamed attorney representing Spell told sheriff’s officials he would arrange Spell’s surrender, but that hasn’t happened yet, Strickland said.

If Spell were to be locked up on the bad check charge, it wouldn’t be for long. Deposit account fraud has a set bond amount that could be posted within hours.

The FBI and U.S. Attorneys office isn’t commenting on the status of their investigations into Spell. An FBI spokesman has said in general, white-collar crime suspects are arrested after an indictment is returned.

Meanwhile, more lawsuits against Spell continue to trickle in. Last week an Alabama heavy equipment company sued Spell for an unpaid bill of $4,599, and on Thursday, Gainesville architects Bachman and Associates filed a court claim for $7,869 worth of unpaid architectural work.

Spell already faced two pending lawsuits filed by former investors who claim they were taken for $3.2 million and $500,000, respectively.



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