A convicted con man and former pastor of Westminster-based Church of the Healthy Self was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison for orchestrating an investment scam that bilked people out of more than $33 million.
Kent R.E. Whitney, 39, who is formerly of Newport Beach but currently resides in Northern California, was also ordered him to pay $22,662,668 in restitution, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Whitney pleaded guilty in November 2020 to mail fraud and filing a false federal income tax return.
From September 2014 to April 2019, Whitney allegedly schemed to defraud investors through the Church of the Healthy Self, a nonprofit corporation that he founded, and its related entities, including CHS Asset Management Inc, according to the DA’s office. Whitney founded these entities and operated them out of a strip mall in the Little Saigon area of Westminster until it was shut down after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint and a judge froze the church’s assets.
Whitney founded the church in 2014, three months after he finished serving a 44-month prison sentence for another commodities investment fraud, authorities said.
At Whitney’s direction, representatives of the church appeared on television and at live seminars from the church’s offices to solicit investments in CHS Trust, the church’s investment arm.
In these appearances, which were were frequently…