• Charlotte man pleads guilty in $2.5M uptown Ponzi scheme


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte businessman just pleaded guilty to running a $2.5 million Ponzi scheme out of his uptown office.

    He took money from senior citizens to fund fancy dinners, expensive jewelry and electronics.

    Channel 9 was in the courtroom sitting next to a row of victims as Claude McDougal admitted his guilt.

    Court records show the scheme occurred between 2006 - 2010.
    McDougal enticed at least 25 victims into investing into the Charlotte-based U.S Financial Consultants Alliance.

    He promised 6 to 15 percent returns on their investment each year.

    Prosecutors said he only really invested at most 25 percent of the victims’ money.
    He spent the rest on dinners, jewelry and electronics. He also booked hotels, bought furniture and paid off other business-related expenses.
    Investigators said many of the scheme's victims were elderly and McDougal squandered most or all of many of their life savings.

    Channel 9 spoke with the nephew of one of the victims who also used to work with McDougal.

    “I just hope that the case is a very fair case and I hope that all victims get their restitution,” said Mitchell Johnson.

    McDougal pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud as part of a plea deal, dodging 16 other counts he was indicted on.

    McDougal faces up to 20 years in prison and could be ordered to pay $5 million in fines.

    Channel 9 will have more on this story at 6 p.m.

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