The First Church of the Broken Nest Egg

They could have performed a due diligence investigation that would have uncovered the fraud.

There will be scores of these this year; church congregations torn apart by the pastor’s involvement with a fraudulent investment scheme. Sometimes the pastor will be an innocent dupe. Other times the pastor will have good reason to suspect the fraud from the beginning. In both cases, though, the pastor will plead afterwards that he could not have known that the thing was a fraud. He or she will be wrong about that. Last week, a story from South Carolina took its place in this long, never-ending line of sad stories involving clergymen. According to The Post and Courier: (more…)

Acrimony in Public Debate Fuels Ponzi Scheme

Wilson rode the wave of national cynicism to a very nice lifestyle on other peoples’ money.

“Affinity fraudsters use their own membership in a distinct group to build the trust that is essential to the success of the scheme.” — The Vigilant Investor, p. 98

I know that “Politician Accused of Unethical Behavior” isn’t exactly a “man bites dog” story, but when the politician is accused of running a Ponzi scheme the story sets up a good examination of why we so often fall for investment fraud. According to (more…)

South Carolina Pastor Charged with Fraud

Stay away from anyone who even casually mentions their faith in connection with an investment pitch.

Most affinity frauds involve professional investment criminals defrauding a community of faith.  A few, though, actually begin with the Pastor of that community.  According to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Episcopal Pastor Ron Satterfield raised more than $3.3 million from 70 investors in four states by telling them that he could generate profits by trading foreign currencies.  Criminal prosecutors now allege that Satterfield took out a loan in the name of his South Carolina church and transferred the proceeds to his personal bank account. According to the Holland Sentinel, Satterfield’s co-defendant in the CFTC action, Nick Bos, has now come forth with details about the scheme: (more…)

Unrepentant Con Men Who Wrapped Themselves in a Bible Story Sentenced to Decades in Prison

Please understand that you have the power to do what regulators, alone, cannot. You can stop a prospective multi-million scam in its tracks and save the nest eggs of countless retirees.

The three men wrapped themselves in the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who survived Nebudchanezzer’s furnace after refusing to bow down to an idol.  According to Investment News, calling themselves the “Three Hebrew Boys,” Timothy McQueen, Joseph Brunson, and Tony Pough: (more…)

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