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Rick Siskey Ponzi scheme victims included Wichita State basketball coach

Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall yells from the sidelines during the first half of a second-round game against Kentucky in the men’s NCAA college basketball tournament last month.
Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall yells from the sidelines during the first half of a second-round game against Kentucky in the men’s NCAA college basketball tournament last month. AP

Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall was one of the nearly 100 investors who lost more than $21 million in just one of the companies run by the late Charlotte businessman Rick Siskey, according to a bankruptcy court filing this week.

The list of creditors in TSI Holdings, which the FBI has alleged was a Ponzi scheme, also included five individuals owed more than $1 million.

Siskey took his own life in December, days after court filings gave the first public indication that he was under investigation for fraud. An FBI affidavit unsealed in January alleged he was operating a Ponzi scheme for years.

TSI and other Siskey companies have since been pushed into bankruptcy, and an attorney representing some of the investors has said losses could exceed $51 million, including the $21 million in TSI.

Marshall coached the men’s basketball team at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., from 1998 until 2007 when he became the coach at Wichita State, which has become a perennial contender in the NCAA basketball tournament. He had $200,000 invested in TSI, according to the filing.

Marshall did not respond to a request for comment through a Wichita State spokesman.

Another well-known investor in TSI was former college basketball announcer and Charlotte businessman Billy Packer, who is owed more than $1.3 million, according to the filing. Packer was previously known to have money in TSI because he was one of the investors who petitioned for the company to be pushed into bankruptcy in January.

Packer said he had not yet had time to examine the filing but said he believes those handling the bankruptcy case will do a thorough job determining what he is owed.

Other victims include Dennis and Sue Ligon, who operate a chain of spas in the Norfolk, Va., area. They are owed nearly $1.3 million, according to the filing. Dennis Ligon spent most of his life in North Carolina, according to the Sundays Blue Box Tanning Resort web site.

“We were shocked that a man who was a pillar of the community had this dark side that duped so many people,” Dennis Ligon said in an email. “We are just in limbo awaiting the final result.”

The filing says it is believed that Siskey over time distributed money to investors that exceeded the amount they invested, meaning they got back their principal with interest. Joseph Grier, the court-appointed trustee handling the bankruptcy case, “is investigating possible net winner claims,” the filing says.

After moving to Charlotte with his wife, Diane, in 1985, Siskey quickly became a prominent financial planner and insurance salesman in Charlotte. The Siskey YMCA in Matthews is named for the family.

Diane Siskey has pledged to set aside $37.5 million of the $47 million in life insurance proceeds from her husband’s death for investors. But attorneys for investors have said that might not be enough.

Last month, one of Rick Siskey’s investors filed suit against Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and its securities arm for turning a “blind eye” to Siskey’s activities.

Siskey founded a firm called Wall Street Capitol around 2000 that operated under the MetLife umbrella. He was no longer associated with the firm at the time of his death, according to an attorney for some of its representatives, but he still worked in the same SouthPark office building topped by a Wall Street Capitol sign.

Diane Siskey was also a registered broker with MetLife’s securities arm from 2001 until December of last year, according to industry records.

Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker

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