“Three Hebrew Boys” Convicted for $82 Million Ponzi Scheme Trio Accuses U.S. Attorney of Treason
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 20, 2009|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins stated today that Joseph B. Brunson, age 47, of Hopkins; Timothy McQueen, age 51, of Blythewood; and Tony Pough, age 47, of Columbia, were convicted by a federal jury on 58 separate counts after an eight-day trial in Columbia. The jury verdict also resulted in an order of forfeiture of $82 million against the men. United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour presided over the trial, and ordered the men to be taken into custody. A sentencing hearing will take place next year.
Calling themselves the Three Hebrew Boys, the men operated Capital Consortium Group, LLC, claiming to have specialized and secretive investment strategies in the foreign currency markets. Between 2004 and 2008, they collected more than $82 million from approximately 7,000 investors by offering debt elimination programs that promised to pay off investors’ mortgages and car loans with high yields. In fact, the trio invested little of the money in foreign currencies, and used most of the investors’ money to buy luxury items for themselves, including a jet, expensive cars, real estate, and luxury suites at professional football stadiums. As with all Ponzi schemes, the men used some of the money from new investors to pay off earlier investors. Victims were from across the country, and included military personnel who appeared to have been targeted as having steady income for investment.
“By calling themselves the Three Hebrew Boys, these con men tried to disguise their Ponzi scheme as a religious, charitable program of debt elimination in order to gain the trust of unsuspecting investors, said Mr. Wilkins. “Unfortunately many people were victimized by these men, including many in our armed forces.”
After the jury’s verdict, Judge Seymour was asked to allow the men to remain free on bond until their sentencing. She denied the request after noting that all three men filed documents today accusing U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins of treason and committing acts of war by prosecuting them.
The men face a maximum possible sentence of 940 years' imprisonment and a fine $14.5 million.
The case was investigated by agents of the FBI, the IRS, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Winston Holliday and Mark Moore prosecuted the case.