Fraudster dubbed ‘Modern Moses’ in GBP3m church swindle

A fraudster dubbed a “modern Moses” funded a life of “wild extravagance” with £3.2million swindled from fellow churchgoers.

Lindani Mangena, 24, posed as a top City trader to con more than 1,000 Seventh Day Adventists.

He and two accomplices set up a firm in “glamorous” City offices offering a string of bogus investments with “guaranteed” massive profits.

Cash came in so fast they had to install a counting machine, Southwark crown court in South London, heard.

Desmond Vincent, who lost £70,000, said he was “so taken in” by promises of 3,000 per cent profit in six months he even left his job to work for Mangena.

He said: “We thought he was like a modern Moses. I thought the Lord had blessed him. Now he could not sell me chewing gum.”

The jury heard the gang bought multi-million pound properties, expensive cars and holidays.

But victims lost homes and life savings, scores struggled to pay mortgages. One lost £185,000.

Any who protested were fobbed off. When excuses no longer worked “heavies” manned the door.

Mangena, 24, of Romford, Essex, was finally arrested trying to open an investment account with a forged driving licence.

He was found guilty of fraud, money laundering and running an unauthorised investment business.

Dean Hinkson, 29, of West Croydon, and Curtis Powell, 31, of Thornton Heath, Surrey, were found guilty of inducement.

Judge Peter Testar said jail was inevitable when sentenced on Monday.

Police recovered £900,000 and are chasing more, but £1million is gone for good.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday March 9, 2008.
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