Federal Grand Jury Indicts Two Men in $1 Million Fraud Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
DALLAS — A federal grand jury in Dallas has indicted Joshua Pugh, 23, of Dallas, Texas, and Johnny Glenn Clifton, 50, of Frisco, Texas, on wire fraud charges stemming from an elaborate scheme to defraud an individual out of approximately $1 million between November 2015 and March 2017, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, the indictment charges Pugh, aka “Joshua Wealthy,” “Joshua Money,” “Joshua Looney” and “Jmoney” and Clifton, aka “John Mason” and “John Glenn,” with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. The indictment was returned this week and unsealed yesterday. Detention hearings for both defendants are scheduled for December 12, 2017 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver.
According to the indictment, in March 2016, Clifton contacted an individual, Victim 1, and detailed an opportunity to invest in Sectors Global Management (Sectors), a fictitious elite real estate company. According to Clifton, Sectors was backed by elite individuals. Clifton alleged that he would serve as the chief executive officer of Sectors and an individual that Clifton referred to as “Joshua Wealthy” was a leading member.
Clifton explained to Victim 1 that both he and “Wealthy” were also members of or connected to the Illuminati, which he described as a clandestine cabal of high net worth individuals who delegated control of the world to a select group of 43 families through the manipulation of banks, politics, and intelligence/law enforcement organizations. Clifton stated that Victim 1 was selected to invest in Sectors because of a secret reason that even Clifton was not allowed to know.
The indictment alleges in an effort to convince Victim 1 of the legitimacy of these claims, Pugh and Clifton used extravagant means to effectuate their scheme to defraud Victim 1, including the use of helicopters, caravans, bodyguards, chauffeurs, falsified documentation, and contrived video chats and teleconferences with purported world leaders. The defendants also created a library of falsified documents intended to corroborate their claims, including, emails and communications describing major business deals; letters to major corporations and sport franchises discussing Pugh’s roles in such entities; alleged communications with businesses detailing endorsements with major companies such as Under Armour and the National Basketball Association (NBA); daily itineraries for “Wealthy,” which referenced frequent travel in private jets; and falsified tax documents and W-2 forms.
During certain meetings with Victim 1, Pugh outlined the ramifications to Victim 1 if he did not comply with their demands, which included the seizure of Victim 1’s assets, Victim 1’s incarceration by law enforcement and claimed his life would be in danger. The defendants would also send emails often demanding additional money from Victim 1 and outlined the consequences of non-compliance, according to the indictment.
Based on the representations and interactions with the defendants, Victim 1 feared the ramifications of not meeting their demands. Victim 1 invested approximately $1 million between November 2015 and March 2017 with Sectors. The money invested was used by the defendants to purchase two Porsche Panameras, a Maserati Quatraporte, merchandise from Louis Vuitton, a black mink stroller coat, a ticket to Super Bowl LLI, 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.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud is 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation that would require the defendant, upon conviction, to forfeit the proceeds obtained as a result of the offense, including, a 2010 Porsche Panamera, 2012 Porsche Panamera and 2007 Maserati Quattroporte. .
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney PJ Meitl is in charge of the prosecution.
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Updated December 8, 2017