2 men who ran Ponzi scheme with investment company take plea deal, court documents say

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C — People gave their life savings to two men they hoped would double it. However, investigators said that money went toward a Ponzi scheme and they might not get it back.

Channel 9′s Ken Lemon learned Thursday the owners of D&T Investment in Kings Mountain are expected to take a plea deal. They’re accused of taking millions from investors and spending it on themselves.

The people who trusted them are concerned they might not get a single dollar back, and they’re not happy about it.

Attorneys who work cases like this told Lemon that probably won’t happen even if it’s ordered by the court. Once the owners have served their time, the court can put them on a payment plan, but attorneys said convicted felons may not earn a lot and they are given the grace to pay their own bills, too.

According to court documents, Austin Page and Brandon Teague pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to mail and securities fraud. The last time they were in court was January.

“What are they paying them with? Are they using the money they took?” said Stephen Di Tillio, who is frustrated because he invested all he had.

According to federal paperwork, D&T Investment took $4.2 million from over 300 people. Those investors lost $3.8 million because the company invested very little.

Debbie Hicks was one of the investors and said the company told her that her money was doubling.

“I put good faith and gave them money that we couldn’t really afford,” Hicks said.

According to court documents, the money went to expensive clothes, jewelry, expensive trips and car rentals. Operators even gave bonuses to employees who got the company logo tattooed on their bodies.

“It’s still a slap in the face,” Hicks said.

The plea agreement said the men will pay restitution, but attorneys Lemon talked to said many times investors won’t get their money back.

Page faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud. Teague faces a maximum of 5 years for securities fraud.

Meanwhile, investors said they have lost their life savings.

“They should have never put us in this position,” Hicks said. “I’m wondering where the justice is?”

Di Tillio said he has always struggled with money and the investment was his shot at turning it around. Instead, he said he lost trust, something that can’t be repaid.

“They clearly ruined it. Where do you turn? Who do you look at as say I can trust you now?” he said.

Di Tillio said he doesn’t think he will ever invest money again.

(WATCH BELOW: Pair accused of running Ponzi scheme with investment company make first court appearance)