October 12, 2005 Albany-- Prosecutors call an Albany woman charged in a huge money laundering and drug ring a golddigger. Donna Wilson is one of 12 people investigators say were involved in a three year scheme of burglary, marijuana dealing, and racketeering. Prosecutors say she helped launder dirty money, but her attorney says she was an innocent by-stander.
"She's been part of the enterprises that have been used to launder the money," said Dougherty Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards. During opening statements, Edwards detailed what he calls an elaborate pattern of criminal activity.
He told jurors that between 2002 and 2005, 12 people including Donna Wilson, her mother, two brothers, aunt, and two of her ex-boyfriends were involved in a drug and money laundering ring.
Edwards says Wilson possessed cash and drugs and used money from the burglaries of businesswoman Mary Polite and Pearly's restaurants for her own gain. "There's a song out that describes her," Edwards said. "She would be best described as a golddigger, because you'll see all the situations she was involved in involve cash and people involved in drugs, making a lot of cash."
He said the Wilson family started eight businesses, most based at Dora Wilson's Highland Avenue home, to launder the stolen money. Edwards says Donna Wilson was the CEO of the two largest companies, Southwest Carriers and Southwest Carting.
He said receipts in this box will prove she and her boyfriend lived a lavish life with the stolen money. "Furniture, clothes, TV's all the excess of $40,000 in these two boxes."
But defense attorney James Finkelstein says Wilson never had the stolen money and the only money in her accounts was from a student loan. "We've literally got the canceled check and we've got witnesses from Albany State that will testify to that."
Finkelstein said Wilson is only guilty of living with two ex-boyfriends who were proven drug dealers and related to family involved in crime. "No tangible evidence that Donna Wilson ever touched that marijuana or the bag that it was in - i.e.: the lack of fingerprints and the fact that it was in a closet in a pillow case out of sight," said Finkelstein. "The evidence will be that Dora Wilson acted on her own and that Donna Wilson, there will not be any evidence showing she participate in those acts."
Prosecutors began questioning investigators in the case Wednesday afternoon. Donna Wilson's trial will resume Thursday morning.