COLUMBIA, S.C. (CBS Charlotte) – About $19 million in 3,800 restitution checks was distributed to victims of the $82 million Ponzi scheme operated by the “Three Hebrew Boys.”
As Joseph Brunson, Tony Pough and Timothy McQueen are serving decades in prison for duping as many as 7,000 clients to invest money in foreign currencies, federal prosecutors have indicated that thousands of investors are beginning to receive some of their investments back. U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles indicated to the Associated Press that the restitution checks represent about 46 cents of each dollar invested.
From 2004 to the time the trio was arrested in 2007, the “Three Hebrew Boys,” dubbed for the biblical tale of men who used their faith to survive an inferno, visited churches and faith gatherings in the Southeast. They proclaimed they were saved from crushing debt thanks to the power of God and investments in foreign currencies, a practice they promised investors would result in double returns. But that wasn’t the case. According to The State, the men put less than $1 out of every $10,000 invested into foreign currency markets, using most of the rest of the money on expensive cars, homes, football game luxury boxes and a Gulfstream jet.
The trio was convicted in 2009 on 58 counts, including mail fraud and money laundering. The sentences, ranging between 27 and 30 years for each man, accounted for the harshest sentences for fraud conviction in the state’s history.