Tag: affinity fraud

Affinity fraud, Rabbinical courts, Abused Missionary kids, More…

Among the topics in today’s Religion News Briefs: Affinity Fraud (and how you can protect yourself against it). Missionary Kids speak out about abuses they have suffered. And we meet a woman who lost her religion — and subsequently her childen. She is now battling a rabbinical court to regain custody.

Plus: 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer in school religion can be found everywhere in public school environments.

SEC says ‘Social Capitalist’ ran Ponzi scheme targeting church members

Ephren Taylor Former businessman Ephren Taylor, who describes himself as a ‘Social Capitalist,’ has been charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an alleged $11 million Ponzi scheme that targeted socially conscious churchgoers.

Among the victims are members of Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. They are suing their pastor, Eddie Long, for promoting Taylor’s scheme.

Christian rock concert promoter sentenced in $1M Ponzi scheme

Lauren Baumann A federal judge has sentenced a promoter of Christian rock concerts to nearly five years in prsion in a wire fraud scheme that bilked nearly $1 million from investors.

Lauren Baumann, 43, of Downey, California, was the owner of Stewardship Estates, LLC, which collected nearly $1 million in loans, promising investors that the money would be used to host Christian rock concerts.

Religion-related fraud getting worse

(AP) – Randall W. Harding sang in the choir at Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, Calif., and donated part of his conspicuous wealth to its ministries. In his business dealings, he underscored his faith by naming his investment firm JTL, or “Just the Lord.” Pastors and churchgoers alike entrusted their money to him. By the time Harding was unmasked as a fraud, he and his partners had stolen more than $50 million from their clients, and Crossroads became yet another cautionary tale in what investigators say is a worsening problem plaguing the nation’s churches. Billions of dollars has been stolen

On eve of fraud trial, Christian investors say they were betrayed

Evangelists set to testify – in federal court When Gregory Setser’s import empire came crashing down two years ago, little was left to pay back hundreds of investors and church groups who funded his International Product Investment Corp. with at least $160 million. Big-name evangelists and everyday churchgoers are among those who were invited to invest in a plan to import cheap, foreign-made goods for pre-arranged sales to retailers like Garden Ridge, Kmart, Michaels and Pier 1. But what remained after the Securities and Exchange Commission shut the company down serves as testament to the lavish California lifestyle of Mr.

‘Pastor’ pleads guilty to fraud

Troutville man ran a Ponzi scheme aimed at the devout; 140 people lost millions ROANOKE — A self-proclaimed “financial pastor” pleaded guilty yesterday in a federal court to swindling churchgoers around the country out of millions of dollars. Some of those who believed William Warren’s phony claims that he could help them grow both richer and closer to God lost their life savings, according to prosecutors. “Some of them had to declare bankruptcy; it wasn’t pretty,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Waering. ‘Affinity Fraud’ Religion-based scams take Lord’s name in gain Con artists preying on faithful Investment frauds using religion

Affinity scams prey on the vulnerable

Those who knew Douglas Sanchez thought they had every right to believe in him. He not only was a caring pastor but the Mesa man also seemed to have all the answers regarding finances. And, with his investments, he promised members of his congregations much higher returns than they could get anywhere else. Problem was, according to the state Attorney General’s Office, that Sanchez from 1994 to 2003 was running a fraudulent scheme that took more than $1 million in property from numerous victims, including some who were disabled and elderly. He now is in Maricopa County’s Towers Jail awaiting

Preying Through the Pulpit

Scam artists are increasingly targeting African American churches, hoping to first hook pastors, authorities say. Bishop Edwin J. Derensbourg thought the new parishioner with the Rolls-Royce and flashy clothes would bring a measure of prosperity to his modest United Christian Fellowship church in Palmdale. The parishioner, Phoebus Vincent Smith, said he wanted to make African Americans like himself rich through savvy investments. Derensbourg didn’t know much about investing, but he reasoned that if “Mr. Vince” could help members of his black church prosper, his collection basket would reap dividends. Derensbourg invited Smith to address the men’s group at the church

Religion-based scams take Lord’s name in gain

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Jan. 26, 2003 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/ By Jenni Bergal, Business Writer In her church, trust among members was a given. So when Elizabeth Morgan came into a large chunk of money from her late husband’s life insurance policy and a malpractice settlement from his unexpected death, she felt comfortable putting it in the hands of a Jehovah’s Witnesses elder to invest in real estate. She bought $764,000 worth of promissory notes from Raymond L. Knowles, a financial consultant and former missionary whom she’d known for many years from the congregation. Knowles assured her that her investment would be safe