Two North Texas men spun an elaborate tale involving the Illuminati, the NBA and Under Armour in order to defraud a would-be real estate investor out of nearly $1 million, according to Dallas' U.S. Attorney's Office.
Dallas' Joshua Pugh and Frisco's Glenn Clifton will appear at a detention hearing Tuesday afternoon in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver, trying to avoid being locked up for the duration of their trials for wire fraud.
According to a federal indictment unsealed late last week, Pugh and Clifton targeted "Victim 1" in March 2016. The victim, the feds say, "was a devout, sheltered and rural cabinet maker in rural Texas."
Clifton told Victim 1 that Pugh, whom he called "Joshua Wealthy," was an heir to a rich family and that both were members of the Illuminati, a cabal of 43 families that Clifton claimed controlled the world "through the manipulation of banks, politics, and intelligence/law enforcement organizations."
For reasons he could not divulge, Clifton said, the Illuminati had selected Victim 1 to invest in Sectors Global Management. Sectors Global Management did not exist.
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Over the next year, police say that Clifton and Pugh did everything they could to convince Victim 1 of their legitimacy. When Pugh met Victim 1 at the victim's woodworking shop in Kemp, he came with a caravan of off-duty law enforcement officers trailing his Bentley. On other occasions, Pugh met Victim 1 with bodyguards in tow. The bodyguards wore earpieces that weren't connected to anything, according to an indictment. Once, at another meeting, a helicopter tailed Pugh's entourage, following a predetermined flight plan without being in communication with the driver of Pugh's car.
Despite claims detailing purported endorsements with companies like Under Armour and the NBA, no investment took place. Instead, Clifton and Pugh spent Victim 1's cash on "two Porsche Panameras, a Maserati Quatraporte, merchandise from Louis Vuitton, a black mink stroller coat, a ticket to Super Bowl LI, a private jet, $400 per month payment to an individual who would put in and take out Pugh’s contact lenses on a daily basis, and chartered helicopter rides," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. If he stopped investing, Clifton and Pugh told him the Illuminati would seize his assets, he would go to prison and his life might be in danger.
Eventually, Victim 1 hired an attorney to look into Clifton and Pugh. The attorney went to the FBI, and an investigation ensued. When they found out they were being investigated, Clifton and Pugh again threatened Victim 1, telling him that the Illuminati controlled the FBI without the knowledge of local field officers. They also agreed to pay back some of the money Victim 1 had invested, giving him about $6,000 in February, according to court documents.
If convicted, Pugh and Clifton face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. They may also be required to pay restitution to Victim 1.