Con men claim to be Illuminati and scam $1 million from isolated Mennonite craftsman

The devout man living in the rural part of Texas has forgiven the scammers

When the frugal middle-aged man was thrown into the realities of the world he didn't know that a fake Illuminati would be a part of it. Two men who claimed to be a part of the clandestine group approached the man in his rural Kaufman County home and convinced him to invest in a company because Illuminati wanted him to and scammed him out of $1 million. The prosecutors said that the man was naive and a devout man, who was unaware of the Illuminati or the fake plans made by the con men.

Clifford Stauffer is a middle-aged man who runs the family business as a Mennonite cabinetmaker. He was a sheltered man with no knowledge about pop culture or the media. So when Johnny Clifton and Joshua Pugh claimed they were the Illuminati and arranged a lavish and elaborate fraud, Stauffer believed them.

Kaufman County, Texas
Kaufman County, Texas Google Maps

A white-collar heist and the men with a plan

"Frankly, every time I uncovered a new fact with the agent, we were just astonished because it kept getting worse and worse," said Assistant US Attorney PJ Meitl to The Dallas Morning News. The defendants created an elaborate plan to scam the middle-aged man and even went as far as hiring a convoy of SUVs and bodyguards. While meeting Stauffer, the two created a storyline that convinced the man who owned a very old model of mobile phone that they were a wealthy set of people.

A helicopter hovered over the Stauffer home as Pugh talked to the old man with threats lining the claims about their connection with the Illuminati. They told Stauffer that they knew several well-known figures including Prince the musician before he passed away. The scam which spanned for two years between 2015 and 2017 consisted of various measures to make the frugal man give up money.

Stauffer was convinced the fictional conspiracy existed

Illuminati is said to have some historical basis and with a site and various other documents, Stauffer was convinced that the fictional conspiracy existed. The men after being caught pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Stauffer did not attend Clifton's hearing. Clifton has been jailed for 13 years in August. Pugh is awaiting his sentence which has been moved around for various reasons.

Stauffer said that he forgave the criminals and hold no ill will against him. His pastor said that he was a private man and didn't want to come forward. When he found out about the scam, Stauffer had severe pressure from the duo as to not reveal it. They went as far as contacting his pastor to convince him not to talk about this to anyone.