PELION, S.C. — Investors had high hopes for the money they gave to the owner of Little Giant ATM. But, according to the Department of Justice, 51-year-old Samuel Sturkie Jackson Jr.'s aspirations didn't involve them.
Instead, authorities said Jackson spent more than $3 million on himself leaving those investors out to dry - until the cost of free money caught up with him.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina announced on Friday that Jackson would be spending 4 years in prison for defrauding investors of his automatic teller machine business. He will also have to pay restitution for his victims.
Evidence in the case found that through Little Giant ATM, Jackson solicited investments and promised a monthly rate of return. Prosecutors said the money was supposed to load cash into the ATMs and bring profit through transaction fees.
However, prosecutors said that between 2015 and 2019, the money ultimately found its way into Jackson's pockets. They said the newfound wealth then went to personal purchases that ranged from trips to Las Vegas to purchases of cars and even farm equipment.
But the scheme soon drew the attention of not only the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) but also the U.S. Secret Service. Jackson was ultimately arrested and now, following his conviction, not only faces years in federal prison but a 3-year period of court-ordered supervision afterward. He will also have to pay his victims roughly $3.4 million.
“The U.S. Secret Service remains focused on bringing those who commit financial crimes to justice,” said John Hirt, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Columbia field office, in a statement. “In this instance, Samuel Jackson turned his investors into victims, betraying their trust to carry out his own embezzlement scheme.
Hirt also commended the assistance of SLED and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
“White-collar crime costs all of us,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel. “SLED agents and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to defraud others.”