The former pastor of a Michigan church was sentenced to more than eight years in prison after pleading guilty to running a Ponzi scheme that netted almost $9.3 million from more than 140 investors, according to the Justice Department.
Larry A. Holley, a pastor at Abundant Light Ministries in Flint, Mich., was sentenced to 100 months in prison in Michigan federal court last week, while Patricia Gray, Holley’s associate and a co-operator of Treasure Enterprise, was sentenced to 42 months in prison with an additional two-year term of supervised release. In a statement, Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Moshin said the two defendants “deliberately misled investors” into giving up their life savings.
“Investors should not be lulled into trusting an investment advisor just because they know them or because they are a member of an organization to which they belong,” Moshin said.
The DOJ argued that Gray and Holley co-ran Treasure Enterprise, which claimed to offer financial planning and asset management services to clients. According to the DOJ and separate charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Holley and Gray began soliciting potential victims in 2014 (including retirees and laid-off auto workers) at financial seminars held at churches in Michigan and in other states (neither Gray, Holley nor Treasure Enterprise were registered with the SEC, according to the commission’s complaint).
At the seminars, known as…