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Saturday, April 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Pyramid Scheme Alleged in Pay Phones

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) - A woman claims Marie Foil and associates took millions of dollars in a pay-phone-leasing pyramid scheme that drove one of her cohorts to suicide when the facts came to light. She claims Foil ran an "affinity fraud," preying upon victims "common religious and moral beliefs and church attendance." She also sued Foil & Associates and Walnut Street Securities.

Jewel Drinkard says she lost $91,000 in Foil's scam, to which Drinkard was introduced by James Hollingsworth, who committed suicide. She claims "investors" in the "Payphone scheme" were guaranteed returns at high interest rates, and that Foil reiterated Hollingsworth's promises

She claims Foil and Foil's daughter, Anne Ballard, who is not named as a defendant, took hundreds of thousands of dollars of commissions, and that Foil made nearly $1 million "via funneling approximately $30 million through Foil & Associates." Walnut Street was supposed to audit the deals, and Foil was its registered representative and agent, the complaint states.

It adds: "Walnut Street had a substantial judgment entered against it in a North Carolina court as a result of an NASD arbitration proceeding and award, which resulted in numerous documents being made public (the 'Walnut Street Documents'). Hollingsworth committed suicide when the truth about the payphone scheme came to light."

Foil aka Marie Jolly operates out of Cabarrus County, N.C., according to the complaint.

Drinkard is represented by James Gatehouse with Rayburn Cooper & Durham.

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