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Ole Miss to return most of $400K given by Ponzi convict

December 31, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi has agreed to return about $350,000 of the $400,000 its athletic foundation was given by a businessman who pleaded guilty to a $100 million Ponzi scheme.

The federal receiver appointed to try to get back money lost by investors says the university has agreed to return $310,000 donated by Arthur Lamar Adams, The Clarion-Ledger reported. That’s in addition to nearly $39,700 already returned for unused football and baseball tickets, according to a recent bankruptcy court statement from receiver Alysson Mills.

The university and foundation were not involved in the scheme. Mills said Adams gave $402,000 over 10 years to the athletics foundation.

Ole Miss has now returned all of the money except about $52,000. Adams got that much in “tangible benefits,” including events tickets that he used, Mills reported.

Adams pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced in October to 19½ years in prison.

During his sentencing hearing, Adams, who owned Madison Timber Properties Co., testified that he donated most of the money as part of a group.

Mills said a proposed settlement with Ole Miss will end any action against the university.

In an earlier report, Mills said she had told the university that Adams’ gifts were made with stolen money and she intended to take any and all action necessary to return that money to the receivership estate.

She said bank records show other gifts including $130,649 to R.B. Thieme Jr. Bible Ministries, $100,649 to Berachah Church, $56,350 to Century Club Charities Inc., $25,200 to American Freedom Assembly, $20,500 to Rick Hughes Ministries and $16,000 to Operation Grace World Mission.

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