Little Rock Man Accused of Running Ponzi Scheme and Attempting to Steal from 9/11 Fund
Investigation and arrest made in coordination with agents from Arkansas Attorney General’s Office
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced in coordination with the Little Rock Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit the charge and arrest of Little Rock resident, Malik Akbar’El for 12 federal counts including Mail Fraud, Theft of Government Monies, Attempted Bank Fraud and False Statement.
According to investigation records, Akbar’El, also known as Tyrone David Williams and/or Skipper David Williams, began soliciting people in 2016 to invest money with his company promising 300 percent to 480 percent profit return each year. Akbar’El acquired 252 investors who sent him $644,331.22 to invest. However, he invested less than $92,000.
While operating the apparent Ponzi scheme, Akbar’el was also collecting Social Security disability benefits totaling nearly $24,000.
The joint investigation also revealed Akbar’El attempted to deposit a fraudulent check for nearly $26,000 from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum fund. Akbar’El told the Telcoe Federal Credit Union teller the check was a settlement associated with his mother.
During the course of the FBI investigation, Akbar’El allegedly lied to an agent saying he was paying an employee to assist him. However, the investigation alleges the person was in a relationship with Akbar’El and signed a contract agreeing to pay her 12 percent to 24 percent of his income and his company’s income for five years on a monthly Walmart gift card.
Akbar’El has operated Akbar Williams & Associates Legal Services Corporation since 2012 – offering legal, investment and tax services to paying clients. Akbar’El is not and never has been a licensed attorney. In 2017, the Arkansas Securities Department entered a Cease and Desist Order against Akbar’El and his companies to stop him from recruiting individuals to invest money with him under false pretenses. In 2018, the Supreme Court of Arkansas Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law filed a lawsuit and a Pulaski County Circuit Judge ordered Akbar’El to stop practicing law.
Along with the federal warrant, Akbar’El was wanted on state felony probation revocation and a failure-to-pay violation from Crawford County. Akbar’El was arrested Thursday, January 16, 2020 with assistance from the Little Rock Police Department. He was sent to the US District Courthouse for his first appearance and remains in the Greene County jail. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Harris, Eastern District of Arkansas.
Arkansas’s CDI Unit was formed and began operation in October 2015. The Unit is a federal, state and local cooperative effort led and funded by SSA-OIG. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office has two special agents and an analyst assigned to the CDI Unit. To report suspected financial schemes or fraud, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.