Well, it's over -- the fat lady has finally sung. Clyde himself
has finally confessed that it was, as we told people for years, all just a
scam. Did Clyde spend the money to help charities? No. Did Clyde send the
money to Africa to help people there? No. Instead, Clyde blew the money on
family and friends, in weird business ventures, and then sending it offshore
to secret accounts (that he now has to assist in trying to get back).
But does that end Omega? No. The Omega scam will doubtless still
be carried on by the various scam artists who leeched off the Omega program,
notably scam artists going by the handles of "Dove", "Queeno",
"Gordon", "Chris the Moderated Host", "Taebo",
and several others who try to keep the Omega program "alive" so
they can sell other worthless programs to the true-believers.
Just as people believed in Charles Ponzi after he was sent to
jail, and even after he was dead, doubtless there will be some of the criminally
insane and brainwashed to keep alive the rumors of the unknown Omega quadzillions.
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2001
Media Contact: Sharon Paul . (217) 492-4450
Leader of Omega Trust & Trading, Ltd. Pleads Guilty
to International Fraud, Money Laundering Conspiracy
Urbana, IL - The central figure in an alleged fraud
scheme known as Omega Trust and Trading Limited, pled guilty today in United
States District Court in Urbana, Illinois, to his participation in an international
fraud and money laundering conspiracy, as announced by Frances C. Hulin,
U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. Clyde D. Hood,
age 66, of Mattoon, Illinois, entered a plea of guilty late this afternoon
to one count each of the following: mail/wire fraud conspiracy, money
laundering conspiracy, and filing a false tax return. Hood's wife,
Patricia Ann Hood, age 64, also pled guilty to her part in the fraudulent
scheme. Patricia Hood pled guilty to conducting a monetary transaction
with the proceeds of illegal activity and to filing a false tax return.
As part of their negotiated plea agreements, both Clyde and
Patricia agreed to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials as to
their knowledge and /or involvement in the conspiracy and to identify and
locate property and assets which are traceable to the fraudulent scheme
and further, to identify and repatriate assets which may be located in any
Upon entering his pleas of guilty, Clyde Hood admitted that
from at least in or about January 1994 through August 2000, he agreed with
other persons to conduct a fraudulent business under the name of Omega Trust
and Trading, Ltd. which he and his co-conspirators supervised from Mattoon,
Illinois, and elsewhere. Hood admitted that he and other conspirators
falsely represented that Omega was a high yield investment program that
would generate extraordinary profits to participants and investors from
trading "debentures" or "prime bank notes" in foreign
Instead of putting money into a "prime bank note"
buying and selling program as represented, Hood admitted he and others converted
more than $12,500,000 for their own personal use and benefit.
Hood further admitted that he enlisted a number of experienced
"network marketers" to promote, solicit and sell the Omega program
and to establish multi-level marketing lists.
Hood admitted he furthered the conspiracy with a presentation
to potential Omega participants in Oregon in September 1994. During
this meeting, which was videotaped, Hood admitted he made numerous fraudulent
representations, including among them that Omega was a "loan agreement"
with a return or profit of 50 to 1, and that a huge profit would be made
on a "buy-sell" agreement and then transferred to everyone within
the Omega program. Hood further misrepresented his background and
experience to purport, among other achievements, that he was an experienced
banker and trader who "had done this deal before for Fortune 500 companies."
Hood also falsely represented that various financial institutions outside
the U.S. were participating in this venture and that "the program and
all three rolls would be completed by the end of 1994."
Hood further admitted that he and his conspirators perpetuated
the illusion that Omega was a real venture by keeping a computer database
of some, but not all, of the people sending money, sending correspondence
to these people, and, at one point, announcing that the Omega program was
"closed," meaning that it had enough investors and would accept
no more. Instead of "closing" Omega, Hood and others used
the concept of a "closed" Omega to sell millions of dollars worth
of "refund units."
Additionally, on at least 72 occasions from mid-1995 though
July 2000, Hood admitted he and others wrote telephone messages which Hood
recorded, and which were directed to Omega participants. The telephone
"updates" contained misinformation and falsehoods regarding the
status of the Omega program.
Hood admitted he participated in a money laundering conspiracy
during this time in that he caused cashier's checks, money orders, and personal
checks sent to him by persons investing in Omega to be deposited into at
least 24 accounts in the names of his conspirators. Hood then gave
orders to those account holders to withdraw the funds in cash, checks, cashier's
checks and by account transfer within the same institution and by wire transfers
to accounts in domestic and foreign banks.
In addition, with the help of his conspirators, Hood used
those funds to purchase real estate which he titled in conspirators' names
to fund new and existing businesses and to purchase vehicles and other personal
Additionally, Hood admitted he used Omega investors' funds
to make loans to relatives, friends and business associates to purchase
property and for the refinancing of existing residential mortgages.
Upon entering her plea of guilty, Patricia Hood admitted that
on June 5, 1996, she participated with her husband in conducting a monetary
transaction with proceeds of illegal activity when they loaned $77,000 of
Omega participants' funds to a family member and her husband to refinance
their residence located in Mattoon, Illinois. Specifically, $68,200
was transferred to the couple's account from an account held jointly by
Clyde Hood and a co-conspirator with the balance of $8,800 in cash given
to the couple. At Clyde Hood's direction, the mortgage was prepared
and recorded showing Patricia Ann Hood as the mortgagee.
Patricia Hood admitted that, at that time, she knew that Omega
Trust and Trading was a fraudulent scheme operated by her husband and others,
and that the funds loaned to the couple were Omega investors' funds.
Further, she admitted that the mortgage showing her as the mortgagee was
intended to conceal the true source, ownership and control of the Omega
Finally, both Clyde and Patricia admitted that in filing a
federal joint tax return for tax year 1996, he and his wife declared total
income of $11,220 when in fact, they both knew at the time of filing that
their total income for 1996 was more than $2,079,179.34.
U.S. District Judge Michael McCuskey scheduled sentencing
for Clyde Hood for August 24, 2001, at 1:00 p.m.; sentencing for Patricia
Hood is scheduled for August 24, 2001 at 9:30 a.m.
Clyde and Patricia Hood join five others who have already
entered pleas of guilty for their participation in the alleged fraud:
Stuart Chris Engel pled guilty April 4, 2001, to one count
of conspiracy to commit money laundering; sentencing is scheduled for
July 13, 2001;
Barry Bullington pled guilty April 4, 2001, to conducting
a monetary transaction with the proceeds of illegal activity; he is
scheduled to be sentenced July 27, 2001;
Jerry Wilson pled guilty on March 19, 2001, to one count
of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering;
sentencing is scheduled for July 13, 2001;
Susan Hoehne pled guilty on March 20, 2001, to one count
of conducting a monetary transaction with the proceeds of illegal activity;
she is scheduled for sentencing July 20, 2001; and,
Franklin Myers entered a plea of guilty on March 20, 2001,
to one count of conducting a monetary transaction with the proceeds
of illegal activity. His sentencing is scheduled for July 13,
As part of their plea agreements, each of the seven defendants
who have entered pleas of guilty have agreed to cooperate. Further,
each has agreed to forfeiture of any interests they have acquired in property
with proceeds from Omega Trust and Trading Ltd., and to entry of an order
permanently prohibiting them from conducting any further business related
to Omega Trust and Trading, Ltd.
At sentencing, the maximum statutory penalty for the offenses
are as follows: money laundering conspiracy - up to 20 years imprisonment
and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the laundered funds;
mail/wire fraud conspiracy - up to five years imprisonment and a fine of
up to $250,000; mail and wire fraud - up to five years imprisonment and
a fine up to $250,000; conducting financial transactions with proceeds of
illegal activity - up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000;
and, filing false tax returns - up to three years imprisonment and a fine
of up to $100,000.
All sentences, however, are governed by the Federal Sentencing
Guidelines which base actual sentence on a number of factors including the
evidence presented in a given case, the extent of the criminal involvement
by a defendant, and prior criminal history.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin May 1, 2001, in U.S.
District Court in Springfield, Illinois, for the trial of the remaining
12 defendants charged in the alleged fraud.
U.S. Attorney Hulin reminded members of the public that an
indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Under the
law, each defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which time it is the
burden of the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case prosecution is being coordinated by Assistant U.S.
Attorneys Esteban F. Sanchez and Patrick D. Hansen of the Springfield division
of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois.
The charges are the result of a cooperative investigation
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service;
U.S. Marshals Service; the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal
Revenue Service; the Illinois Secretary of State's Department of Securities;
and the Mattoon Police Department.