Ponzi suspect’s latest deal questioned

A month before he stands trial on fraud charges, the owner of a Christian non-profit accused of bilking millions out of churchgoers in Arizona and 12 other states is now seeking an expert’s endorsement to promote a gold-mine project to investors.

A university professor and metallurgist from Montana says two weeks ago Chandler resident Ed Purvis offered to hire him to analyze gold ore that Purvis claimed he and others recovered from a South Pacific island.

“It was obvious that they wanted to use me so they could go after investors,” said Paul Miranda, a chemist and process engineer at Montana Tech University of the University of Montana. “The whole thing smelled bad from the start. I asked questions about extraction methods. . . . They hemmed and hawed. They didn’t know what they were talking about.”

Miranda said he met with Purvis and two of Purvis’ partners on April 27 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

Court records show that Purvis’ trip to Las Vegas could be a violation of his bail bond, which requires him to obtain court approval to leave the state.

He is scheduled to stand trial June 14 in Superior Court on 43 counts of criminal fraud and theft charges related to his non-profit company Nakami Chi Group Ministries International, which authorities describe as a Ponzi scheme.

They say Purvis promised investors their money would be used to fund Christian causes and that they would earn 24 percent annual returns.

One of Nakami’s key investment plans involved gold ore from an abandoned manganese mine on the island nation of Vanuatu, about 1,300 miles northwest of New Zealand.

However, a New Zealand mine company owner told The Republic that the ore from the Vanuatu mine is worthless.

– Source / Full Story: Ponzi suspect’s latest deal questioned, Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic, May 7, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Fraudsters who targeted churchgoers sanctioned; ordered to pay $11 million in restitution (article)
You Won, Now Give It Back: How Ponzi schemes work (article)
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legendoffsite (book)
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man: How Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Frauds Work… and Why They’re More Common Than Everoffsite (book)
Religion-based scams take Lord’s name in gain (article)
Affinity Fraud: How To Avoid Investment Scams That Target Groupsoffsite U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (article)

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday May 8, 2010.
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