To further secure her financial future, Brinson took the
But the investments that
Brinson testified in federal court Monday that her life savings had been stolen by Hall and that she had to return to work in the school system to make ends meet. She retired earning
Hall pleaded guilty to fraud and money-laundering charges in late 2013 and faces more than 10 years in prison after stealing from victims that include other school personnel, prosecutors said. Defense attorneys are arguing for a lot less time and claim the losses were less than
Brinson, one of several angry and tearful victims to testify during Monday’s sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge
“If I had my way, he’d rot,” Brinson said.
The hearing resumes
“I wanted to make sure she was provided for,” said Pollock, 58, a certified nursing assistant. “I believed he [Hall] was a man of his word.”
Pollock’s daughter, 20, tearfully described her mother’s suffering and suggested she was a burden her mother would be better off without. In a rare moment during such courtroom testimony, Corrigan kept Shanequa at the podium and urged her not to blame herself for anything.
“I can only imagine how difficult all of this is,” Corrigan said. “You all are better off together.”
The victims’ testimony was countered by character witnesses for Hall, including his wife, three children — whom Corrigan praised for their poise — and other family and friends. Those witnesses called Hall a good Christian man who cared for his family and community. Some even doubted he was a criminal.
“I don’t know what happened to those people’s money,” said friend
That’s not the story painted by prosecutors or by Hall in his plea agreement, which led to his conviction on four counts of a 34-count indictment. The other counts were dropped.
The sham investment scheme began in 1999 and ended in 2011. Hall set up a shell corporation,
The victims included current clients and client referrals of various financial companies where Hall worked as an independent agent. He solicited his victims to invest their retirement savings, usually held in Individual Retirement Accounts, in an investment product he described as ASI and promised interest rates sometimes exceeding 12 percent.
Many of the victims were
Victims would occasionally request payments from their investments. As is routinely done in Ponzi schemes, Hall would make partial payments to longer-term victims from new investors. But the majority of the funds were deposited into SunTrust accounts set up by Hall and then stolen by him.
Investigators found that Hall created sham account documents to trick people.
Among the victims was
Hall stole about
“I intended to invest it and give my kids a head start, something I never had, and maybe to have a better life for myself,’ Gee said. “He knew all about what I’d been through. He stole their future. He stole my future.”
Hall, who appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit, said nothing during Monday’s hearing. He’ll get his chance next week when his family and the victims return to court to see if Brinson gets her wish that he spends a long time in a darkened cell.
(c)2015 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Visit The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) at www.jacksonville.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC