ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – A 70-year-old Asheville man was sentenced to 210 months in prison for orchestrating a $22 million Ponzi scheme, Western District of North Carolina U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray said Friday.
According to a news release from Murray, Hal H. Brown Jr. pleaded guilty back in January to securities fraud and transactional money laundering.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell also sentenced Brown to three years of supervised release and to pay more than $17 million as restitution.
According to the release, Brown fraudulently obtained more than $22.5 million from at least 60 victims, some whom were at, or near, retirement age, between 2007-2019.
Brown did this by “engaging in an investment scheme through his company Oodles Inc. and its various affiliates (collectively “OODLES”),” according to the release. Court record showed Brown was the architect and primary, if not sole, operator of the fraud. He also used his religious reputation and respected status in the community to con victims into trusting him with their money, the release said.
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.”