The late Irwin H. "Sonny" Bloch was a radio show host and investment advisor who served on HSUS's board from 1991 to 1995. He was known for promising enormous returns on modest investments in failing wireless cable and radio ventures.
In 1995, after Bloch's Bernie-Madoff-esque scheme began to fall apart, he fled to his private plantation in the Dominican Republic where he continued to broadcast his shows. Interpol later arrested him and extradited him to the United States on charges that he bilked investors who listened to his show of more than $21 million.
Bloch served 16 months of a 21-month sentence for tax evasion. (He pled guilty.) The New York Times wrote that he evading taxes on $700,000 of income he received between 1991 and 1993, and also admitted spending $500,000 from his broadcasting company on a Mercedes-Benz and on living expenses, illegally treating those payments as tax-deductible business expenses.
He was released, with end-stage lung cancer, on humanitarian grounds and died in 1998 before he could be sentenced for his part in the investment fraud.
In 1989, HSUS presented Bloch with its "James Herriott Award."