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Published on May 15, 2024
Five Suspects Charged in Alleged $300K Fraud Scheme Against WWII Veteran Promising Mirages of Christian Charity in HoustonSource: KeithBurtis, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a shocking case of deceit against one of the nation's veterans, five individuals tied to a purportedly faith-driven enterprise have been charged with swindling a nonagenarian World War II hero out of a hefty $300,000. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas, the quintet spun a web of lies exploiting the veteran's trust and savings.

The suspects – Lenel Hopkins, 52, Antoinette Monique Hopkins, 42, Alichia Webster, 60, Neil John Halvorson, 65, and Victor Evans Jr., 70 – were nabbed in Alabama and Florida they now await arraignment in Houston; they face severe charges that could lead up to 20 years behind bars if they get convicted. The enterprise at the heart of the scandal, Ternion Group International LLC, professed to be a Christian investment entity engaged in construction and job training, promising its investors handsome returns and a stake in developmental ventures in return for their cash injections, yet it stands accused, revealing the stark breach between word and deed.

Charges laid out by the DOJ the supposed investment hub spearheaded by the WWII veteran were but a mirage, with the aged soldier contributing $300,000 with dreams of $13 million reciprocation for community upliftment including a vocational school and a housing project that never materialized, as reported by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas. Instead, the funds allegedly lined the pockets of the accused, with Evans specifically drawing a salary from the veteran's life savings. Furthermore, Halvorson's maneuvers reshaped the veteran's will in favor of Evans, granting him sweeping financial and medical authority over the elder, completing a grim tableau of manipulation and greed.

Ternion's deceit ran deep not only did they fail to deliver the promised millions to the veteran, but the site touted as the future locus of development was another dead end, not actually in the offing as claimed. The indictments depict a heartless hoax, with the last known communication from Ternion to the victim dating back to 2020 and not a single dollar returned on the monumental investment.