CHARLOTTE, NC (WSPA) – A federal grand jury returned a criminal indictment against a Western North Carolina man after he reportedly defrauded more than 23 people in a Ponzi scheme.
According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release, Hal H. Brown, Jr., 69, of Asheville, was charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and transactional money laundering for allegedly orchestrating a $13.7 million investment scheme.
Allegations listed in the indictment said that from at least 2012 through September 2019, Brown allegedly obtained more than $13.5 million from at least 23 victims, including some that were at, or near, retirement age.
According to the release, Brown did this by “engaging in an investment scheme through his company Oodles Inc. and its various affiliates (collectively “OODLES”).”
Brown would reportedly falsely represent that Oodles owned hundreds of millions of dollars in intellectual property — including family entertainment shows and movies — to get victims to invest their money.
“As part of the scheme, Brown repeatedly lied to victims about the imminent sale of those intellectual properties to various well-known media companies. To perpetuate the fraud, the indictment alleges that Brown developed marketing material seeing investments or loans for Oodles that claimed large returns on funds invested or lent to the company,” from the release.
Brown also reportedly gave victims several fraudulent or misleading statements and false information, including fake bank statements and falsified company agreements.
According to the release, Brown then used a part of the money obtained from the victims on personal expenses and would “perpetuate the fraud by making payments to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors, commonly referred to as “Ponzi” payments.”
The securities fraud charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, the wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and the transactional money laundering charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The FBI’s Charlotte Field Office is leading the investigation into Brown.