Marshall Hearing in Overton Fraud Case

A long line of well wishers stood outside the federal courthouse in Marshall today in support of an East Texas man being investigated by authorities for fraud in a telecommunications business.    Overton resident Allen Petty Jr. appeared in Federal Court today.  The F.B.I. has put a temporary restraining order on his assets in East Texas on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and racketeering.  Investors and supporters came from all over the country to back Petty. Today Federal Judge John Ward needed to determine if FBI agents had uncovered enough evidence to continue a freeze of Petty's assets... and in the end the judge said there was enough to keep the funds frozen... to the displeasure of Petty's supporters. Working with an informant, F.B.I. agents say Petty's "Telecom 2000" has brought in more than $10 million in just four months... running his business out of a trailer and small log cabin near Overton. Court documents say one hundred and seventy thousand dollars thousand a day were being deposited in the mailbox at the trailer. Investors are angry that the court is continuing the freeze. Many are also angry that investigators are comparing telecom to a pyramid business. In December, Tyler's Southside Bank alerted the F.B.I. to a possible scam, saying Petty deposited three hundred and seventy thousand dollars in a newly created account for "Christian Disciples." The same day "Christian Disciples" gave 360 thousand dollars to Petty's new charity, "Face to Face Ministries." A few days later, "Face to Face" gave "Telecom 2000" a one hundred and forty thousand dollar loan. The court will decide whether this case will continue... And if Petty's supporters will stand by him all the way.