Two men who set up a church at a Westminster strip mall in Southern California are accused of setting up a ponzi scheme that defrauded Vietnamese investors out of $25 million, reports the OC Register.
The FBI has shut down The Church for the Healthy Self while it investigates two pastors who allegedly orchestrated the scheme.
According to the Register, an SEC complaint say Kent R.E. Whitney, 37, started the church just three months after being released from prison for scamming $600,000 from 10 investors. The complaint says David Lee Parrish, 47, assisted Whitney to start the church and acted as co-pastor.
The two men are accused of taking the investors money and spending it on themselves, according to ABC7. The OC Register reports authorities seized jewelry, clothing, computers and sports equipment along with cash.
The SEC says investors in the church’s trust were promised returns of at least 12 percent. The money was supposedly invested into “minimal risk” reinsurance industry.
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