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04-30-2005, 09:10 AM
Posted on Sat, Apr. 30, 2005

Was this woman smart or her victims stupid or both? /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Woman charged with swindling $600,000
Indictment: She said she was possible Sting owner, Wal-Mart exec
FRED KELLY
Staff Writer

A woman posing as the prospective new owner of the Charlotte Sting swindled investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, federal prosecutors say.

Kathey Wilson Wright also pretended she was a Carolina Panthers employee and a retired Wal-Mart executive to lure investors and borrow money that she never repaid, a 21-count indictment alleges.

The indictment, handed down this week by a federal grand jury, says Wright actually was a Wal-Mart clerk.

It accuses Wright of cheating investors out of at least $600,000 by offering bogus land and stock deals and part ownership in the WNBA franchise.

Wright also obtained loans from a Charlotte-based credit union by falsely reporting an annual income of $3 million and a net worth exceeding $10 million, the indictment says.

She could not be reached for comment Friday. Prosecutors declined comment.

The indictment claims that Wright cheated investors from Mecklenburg and Iredell counties and other states from 2002 to early 2004.

In September 2002, it alleges she told a Mecklenburg County man she was in negotiations to purchase the Charlotte Sting.

After she offered him a chance to purchase a part of the team, the man gave her $30,000 as an initial investment and another $65,000 later, the indictment reads. Wright promised to repay him in early 2003 but never did, investigators say.

Prosecutors also accuse Wright of defrauding an Iredell County woman out of $200,000 in 2003.

Wright falsely told the woman she had an option to purchase a plot of land from Wal-Mart and promised her she could make as much as $2 million if she invested in the deal, the indictment says.

Wright even wrote the woman a promissory note guaranteeing the repayment of $100,000 plus 7 percent in 90 days, but did not repay that amount or another $100,000 she received from the woman, the indictment reads.

In January 2004, Wright told a Tennessee man that she worked for the Carolina Panthers and as an employee was entitled to the chance to purchase three luxury suites for $50,000 each, the indictment says.

She promised him she could immediately resell the suites to Bank of America for $100,000 each, the indictment says

When the man gave Wright $150,000 for the luxury suites, she gave him a promissory note and a phony $100,000 "gift" letter for tax purposes, it alleges.
Fred Kelly: (704) 358-5027; frkelly@charlotteobserver.com

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