Pair from Cornelius facing federal charges in connection with multi-million dollar investment scheme

CORNELIUS, N.C. — A federal grand jury has indicted two men from Cornelius for a multi-million dollar investment scheme.

Marlin Hershey and Dana Bradley were charged with mail and wire fraud conspiracy, mail and securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

Prosecutors said from 2009 to 2021, the two men convinced dozens of victims into investing with several entities and unregistered securities offerings, which were promoted by the defendants through Performance Holdings.

The indictment alleges the offerings had false or misleading statements and that the two men didn’t tell the investors material information.

The men then took out commissions worth millions of dollars and “management” fees without telling the investors, according to the indictment.

Hershey and Bradley are also accused of hiding financial difficulties from investors by making loans to various entities. They then used the new investors’ money to repay the loans and previous investors, the indictment said.

Alleged victim says he lost $50,000 meant for child’s college tuition

Matthew Chalmers said he lost his child’s college fund after investing in the fraudulent scheme.

“It’s horrible that there are people out there like me that have lost money,” Chalmers said. “For me, this was my kid’s college tuition.”

He invested $50,000 in 2012 in one of the companies run by Hershey Bradley.

Chalmers said he was supposed to earn interest and get the money back at the end of a 30-month term.

However, Chalmers said Hershey and Bradley kept offering to extend the term even after the business he supposedly invested in went under.

Chalmers said he found out about the business’ failure from searching on Google.

“But the Google search revealed that they had sold the business almost a year earlier from when I had signed my note extension,” Chalmers said. “So, I immediately picked up the phone and called my attorney.”

[ALSO READ: Eyewitness News viewers report unemployment fraud to Action 9]

“That’s a claim of fraud that we allege, and so we’ve brought suit on his behalf in Massachusetts to right to try and reclaim these funds,” attorney Damon Seligson said.

Days after that suit, Hershey and Bradley were indicted by a federal grand jury.

Hershey surrendered himself to authorities and pleaded not guilty Friday morning. He was released on bond following his court hearing.

If convicted, both men could spend more than 50 years in prison and pay several hundred thousand dollars in fines.

(WATCH BELOW: Former CEO to pay full restitution in $15M embezzlement scheme)