Former Lincolnton teacher sentenced in Ponzi scheme

A former Lincoln County school teacher was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of more than $1 million.

Carl David Wright, 54, of Iron Station also must serve three years of supervised release after his prison term ends and pay $817,975 restitution to his victim investors.

Prosecutors said Wright orchestrated the scheme from August 2008 to March 2013 by encouraging his victims to invest in a Cherryville-based “Commodity Investment Group” that he told them he managed.

Wright promised investors a 20 percent to 30 percent return on their investment in a short period of time, while knowing such a return was impossible, according to court records.

Wright formerly taught career and technical education at Lincolnton Middle School.

He told investors he was putting the money into hedge funds, commodities and Quick Trip service stores. Instead, he used the money to pay supposed returns to other victim investors and for his personal use, prosecutors said Tuesday.

When the scheme collapsed in 2013, prosecutors said, Wright had less than $1,000. Wright pleaded guilty in July 2013 to one count of mail fraud.