Church Member Bilked Parishioners of $1M, Feds Say

Alleged Ponzi scheme targeted Washington Heights congregation

A Brooklyn man is accused of swindling fellow parishioners of his church out of nearly $1 million by promising huge returns if they invested in his electronics business.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District says the man operated a Ponzi scheme targeting members of El Camino Church in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood beiginning about mid-2007. He became a member of the church after attending baptismal classes.

Prosecutors say the man persuaded fellow parishioners that they would get thirty percent or more in returns if they invested in his company, C&E Communications & Electronics Inc.

Prosecutors say they documented $960,000 in investments, though only about $415,000 has been paid in returns.

The man is charged with one count of mail fraud.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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