Former CEO of Essex Holdings with ties to Marion charged with $30 million fraud scheme

MARION, SC (WBTW) – The CEO of a Florida company that was supposed to set up shop in Marion County is being charged with fraud schemes that total more than $30 million dollars.

After four years the biggest job announcement in Marion County has been swept under the rug.

“It’s a hurtful thing to think that you’re going to get a job and then you find out that nothing is going to happen,” said Mayor Bobby Davis.

That’s how many citizens feel in Marion County after the state gave the county more than a million dollars in grant funds.

“This is just icing on the cake. I’m angry,” said concerned citizen Charles McRae.

The state gave another $1.5 million dollars to get Essex Holdings up and running.

“I get mad at state officials as well as local officials who promoted this thing,” said concerned citizen Gwen Strickland.

But CEO of Essex Holdings Navin Shankar Subramanian Xavier has yet to make that happen.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the 44-year-old spent most of the money on himself and his wife.

A press release states the two bought items like expensive jewelry, luxury cars, cosmetic surgery and even spent money on their wedding.

“I’ve asked questions in the last three years to different officials on what’s going on with Essex and they’d say they were never given an answer,” mentioned McRae.

“When you see it day after day and maybe one truck out there, one car out there, nobody in town, nobody coming to town then you realize this is a farce,” added Strickland.

Xavier came to the Palmetto State nearly four years ago. He promised to bring more than 200 jobs to Marion County by reopening the Essex Holdings building. Xavier even planned to invest in $50 million dollars over the next five years,

“How long does it take, it doesn’t take a year to get something up and running. It doesn’t unless your building is a completely new facility. It doesn’t take two years and now its three years,” Strickland said.

In Marion County close to 30% of people live below the poverty line so despite what happens Marion Mayor Bobby Davis says the city can only look forward from here.

“I can say we are hopeful because we have Inland Ports coming into Dillon County it’s going to benefit everyone,” mentioned Mayor Davis.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Xavier also spent the development money on personal living expenses. He even wired some of the money to the same overseas accounts used in the investment fraud.

Count on News 13 to keep you up to date on this ongoing investigation.


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