In investment seminars throughout the country, William Ison liked to talk big. Real big. He said his company, Blue Diamond Excavation, was worth $86 billion. Actually, the company had never produced anything. Ison said he had made $100 million in an investment program.
He topped it all off with the claim* that he had a consortium of nonprofits that donated $1 trillion a year to worthy causes. (Note: the gross domestic product, or total annual output of goods and services in the U.S., is $18 trillion.)
It was all hooey, of course, as were the investments he pitched, which cost investors $7 million. Today, Ison was sentenced to 27 months in custody in federal court.
His partner, Douglas Ellingson, was earlier sentenced to 18 months behind bars. Earlier, Ison and Ellingson participated in the Winsome Investment Trust out of Chicago; one Winsome con man got 114 months and the other got 56 months.