"Phantom King" Michael Wilson arrested in Toronto

Plans to fight extradition to U.S. on wire fraud and money laundering charges

Michael Wilson, the self-styled investment adviser charged with spending more than $3 million in illicit funds on Buffalo properties and luxury goods, has been arrested by Canadian authorities, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Wilson, 26, was arrested July 23 on an extradition warrant by Toronto police. He was released Tuesday (Aug. 13, 2013) on $300,000 bail, with an additional pledge of property, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Campana. Wilson, who has dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship through his father, is challenging extradition to the U.S. on federal charges. A hearing has been set for December, Campana said.

Wilson came to Western New York in early 2007 and grew his assets to include the most expensive homes ever sold in the region, as detailed in a June 2012 cover story in Buffalo Spree, "The Phantom King of Buffalo." Working with friends as Phantom Holdings, Wilson made offers to purchase landmark downtown office towers, bought expensive cars and furnishings, and was described by the local press as a young hedge fund millionaire from Cleveland. Wilson's holdings and stature unraveled after a headline-making FBI raid on his property in August 2010. A 47-count federal indictment on wire fraud and money laundering charges followed in December 2010.

Wilson was said by multiple former associates to be living in or near Toronto at the time of Spree's June 2012 article. Michael Wilson's brother, William Wilson, was arrested on three counts related to the Phantom Holdings events. After changing attorneys, withdrawing pleas, and numerous continuances and adjournments, Wilson plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count in January 2013. A sentencing hearing in May was postponed until September, and may be further delayed by the reappearance of a co-defendant.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the date of Wilson's arrest in Toronto.




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