Religious-Themed Ponzi Schemes Still Preying On Investors Hot

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The SEC has charged three Mormon men for selling their fellow church-goers $16 million in what seems to be fake promissory notes.

The angle here was that the notes reflected a stake in a big credit card receivables portfolio that didn't actually exist.

 

Roughly 100 investors were promised 14% to 60% in annual interest or simply given a "double-your-money" promise.

 

The SEC describes the lifestyle of the men running the scheme as "lavish."

 

And in Seattle, the minister of an urban congregation has pleaded guilty to charges that he took $1.6 million from his own parishioners over the last eight years.

 

Tony Morris claimed he was investing the money in foreign currency and real estate at a promised 400% return.

 

He faces up to 30 years in jail on counts of wire fraud and money laundering.

 

What's especially disturbing about cases like these is that the scammers aren't outsiders coming into a religious community looking to make a quick buck off the gullible. They're insiders who their victims trust.

 

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2012/lr22218.

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