Fayetteville Businessman Admits To Bilking Victims Out Of $18 Million
Posted December 16, 2005 5:26 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A suspect in what Cumberland County prosecutors call the biggest embezzlement case in county history pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to charges that he bilked at least 150 people out of a combined $18 million.
Former Fayetteville businessman Anthony Allen admitted that he spent senior citizens' money after promising them that he would invest it. Prosecutors said Allen even targeted church groups.
"There were just so many charges and so many people that were involved, the character of the people who were involved, and it would have been a very, very difficult case to defend," said Allen's lawyer, Gerald Beaver.
As Allen entered court Thursday afternoon, retired men and women, many who lost their life savings, filled the courtroom to see the former businessman plead guilty.
"He did it in the name of church and God," said Cynthia Medlin, who lost thousands of dollars. "How could you possibly have done that and live with yourself?"
During the hearing, seniors also saw Allen crack a smile. It came during a lull, but left an impression.
"I resented the fact that he thought it was funny," said Barbara Meyer, another embezzlement victim.
The court scheduled Allen's sentencing for February. He could receive almost 2,000 years in prison, but is expected to receive a lighter sentence.