Fraud Victims To Receive $5.2 Million From Class Action Lawsuit
Posted May 9, 2005 8:10 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Payback is coming to more than 150 people who say they trusted their savings to one man and then lost millions of dollars in what officials say is one of the largest white-collar fraud cases in Cumberland County history.
After meeting Anthony Allen at a church investment seminar, David Parnell gave the estate planner $700,000 of his own money to invest. Soon after that, the 74-year-old said his dreams sunk.
Investigators charged Allen and another man, Gregory Maynard, with fraud.
Parnell is now one of 150 people involved in a class action lawsuit who say they were swindled out of a combined total of $14 million. He said he started out with nothing, but after 27 years in the pool business, he retired with something.
"I thought I was going to live in style," Parnell said. "It's heartbreaking to lose your life savings."
After almost two years of waiting, a company Allen claims to have been a broker for settled.
The plaintiffs will split $5.2 million and get about 40 percent of their money back.
"I'm happy with that much because I thought I'd get nothing," Parnell said.
Attorneys are not ruling out trying to go after other companies connected to Allen.
Allen is still in the Cumberland County Jail awaiting his criminal trial. Attorneys for the victims plan to go after him next.
Although Allen was known to spend lavishly, they are not ruling out the possibility he has some of the millions hidden somewhere.
"It remains difficult to believe that (millions of dollars) of cash has been disposed of, or spent by Anthony Allen," attorney Coy Brewer said.
For many of the seniors, this money was their lifeline.
Parnell said he cannot wait to dive into his share.
"Time is important when you are this old, because you don't know about tomorrow," he said.
The settlement also pays for more than $1 million in attorney fees. That money is separate from the $5.2 million going directly to the members of the class action lawsuit.