Millions of dollars lost in pastor’s investment fraud scheme


Federal authorities say that an out-of-state pastor and investment adviser worked together to defraud investors for millions of dollars. Many of the victims of this investment fraud were elderly, an age group that is vulnerable to these types of scams. Since fraudulent investors in New York often target the elderly, this outcome is sadly not all that uncommon.

The pastor worked at a megachurch with approximately 16,000 members. From 2013 to 2014, he worked with an investment adviser, persuading the adviser’s clients to invest their money in Chinese historical bonds. Both withheld important details about the bonds and encouraged the clients to pull their cash out of all other investments. The clients who were tricked by the fraudulent pitch wired their funds to different accounts that the pastor controlled, and he would then split the money with the adviser.

Reportedly, the pair defrauded their victims of around $3.5 million. In addition to maintaining a certain lifestyle, the pastor used his portion of the money to pay off some of his debt, including credit card debt and personal loans. The investment adviser also paid down some of his debt, but also purchased two luxury vehicles and paid a downpayment for a vacation property. When investors asked about why they were not getting any of their promised returns, the two denied any wrongdoing and gave various excuses.

Many New York retirees live on limited or fixed incomes, so investing is one way to provide additional income for the later years in life. When they lose out on their savings and future financial stability because of investment fraud, prompt action is usually imperative. Speaking with an attorney who is knowledgeable about recovering compensation for this type of fraud is a good place to start.