Category: Fraud

Doctor convicted in fake cancer treatments; preyed on Evangelical Christians

Christine Daniel A doctor and evangelical minister who used bogus herbal medications to offer false hope to dozens of people suffering from diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s was found guilty of nearly a dozen federal charges.

Twenty-eight victims or family members of victims who died while taking the products testified against Christine Daniel.

2 former LA pastors convicted in health care fraud

Christopher Iruke and Connie Ikpoh Two pastors of a defunct Los Angeles church have been found guilty of preying on their trusting parishioners to run a $14.2 million Medicare fraud scheme.

The couple was accused of using information from parishioners to set up several fraudulent medical supply businesses that billed Medicare for power wheelchairs and other pricey equipment that was never provided or was unnecessary.

Virus Leads to $20 Million Scam

A noted music composer and oil-family heir was fleeced out of as much as $20 million over a six-year period by a Westchester computer repairman and his girlfriend, authorities said Monday.

The saga began in August 2004 when Roger Davidson, 58 years old, a pianist and jazz composer who once won a Latin Grammy, took his computer to Datalink Computer Services in Mount Kisco, saying the machine had been infested with a virus.

The owners of the company, Vickram Bedi, 36, and his girlfriend, Helga Invarsdottir, 39, became aware of Mr. Davidson’s high profile and allegedly proceeded to convince him that he was the target of an assassination plot ordered by Polish priests affiliated with Opus Dei, a conservative Roman Catholic organization, authorities said.

Former wife of Ponzi schemer: ‘Our entire life had been based on a lie’

On March 18, 2009, Shawn Merriman visited his lawyer. Together they went to the federal government and handed them a case.

His next stop was to talk to the leaders at the Church of Latter Day Saints, where he was a respected bishop. He confessed that the company he started 14 years earlier, Market Street Investors, was a fraud.

Then he came home and told his wife.

Shawn Merriman had accumulated a $4 million fine-art collection, classic cars, expensive boats and a luxury mobile home. He had paid off the families’ million dollar house in Aurora. It had all been funded with money he stole from his clients.

Last September the admitted Ponzi-schemer was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison in an emotion-filled hearing that included an appeal from his mother, one of his victims, to “make him pay.”

Now divorced, Andrea — who was unaware of her husband’s fraudulent business — shares her story on her blog, The Unexpected Life.

Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend
How Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Frauds Work
In every Ponzi scheme, some investors profit early on. But courts can force them to return the money, even if they were unaware of the fraud.

Church financier Vaughn Reeves faces Ponzi scheme trial

Former pastor Vaughn Reeves is headed to trial in Indiana for allegedly taking some money parishoners thought was going toward building churches and using it to buy himself and his sons planes and sports cars.

Authorities say Reeves — founder and owner of now-defunct Alanar Inc. — and his three sons duped about 11,000 investors in the Ponzi scheme.

The State of Indiana alleges that the Reeves’ scheme was an affinity fraud in that Alanar’s marketing strategy was devised to appeal to the Christian faith of potential investors.

North Texas man accused of IRS fraud, terror threats is no stranger to legal world

He’s a self-described bodybuilder who sued a televangelist over a diet shake and is accused of threatening the president and calling in fake bomb threats to two airports.

She’s a former software company sales executive who got 28 votes last year in the Addison mayor’s race.

Phillip Francis Busch, 46, and Tamara Whitman, 47, are the husband-and-wife team accused by federal authorities of trying to collect more than $18 million in bogus income tax refunds.

Prosecutors say that after Busch was labeled a frivolous lawsuit filer by the courts, he and his wife duped the Internal Revenue Service into paying them nearly $190,000. They were arrested in February.

Between 2003 and 2005, Busch used a diet shake formula evangelist Pat Robertson was hawking on his TV show, The 700 Club, to drop 200 pounds and help him fulfill a dream of becoming a competitive bodybuilder.

Busch shared his story on Robertson’s show. When Busch’s attempts to get a paid endorsement deal were rebuffed, he sued.

Busch also sued Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart after footage of his 700 Club appearance was used in a skit lampooning Robertson’s diet shakes.

Both suits were dismissed. Attorneys for Robertson and Stewart told the courts that Busch’s suits were harassing and frivolous.

Victory Outreach pastor faces three years in tax case

Max Garza A Portland, Oregon clergyman faces possible prison time for helping the owner of a mail-order divorce business evade $220,345 in taxes, a scheme that put an illegal tithe in the pastor’s pockets.

Maximo Garza, the 46-year-old pastor of Victory Outreach Church of Portland, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to aiding the preparation of a false tax return, a felony that carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Between 2001 and 2003, business owner William C. Thompson — who ran a mail-order divorce service called Hallwood, Inc. — gave checks totaling $735,441 to Garza for public relations and other services that were supposedly performed by the nonprofit Victory Outreach Church. In fact, the church performed no such work.

IRS investigators later found that neither the church nor its board of directors knew of the scheme.