Ex-California pastor sentenced to 14 years for $33M Ponzi scheme
LOS ANGELES, California: Former Southern California pastor Kent R.E. Whitney was sentenced this week to 14 years in federal prison for masterminding a church-based Ponzi scheme.
Whitney, former pastor of the Westminster-based Church for the Healthy Self, was ordered to pay more than $22 million in restitution, after stealing more than $33 million.
He pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and filing a false federal income tax return.
Whitney and his co-pastor targeted the Vietnamese community in a multi-million dollar scheme, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the church, which was founded by Whitney and operated from a strip mall in Orange County, did not seem to have a sanctuary.
“Mr. Whitney, upon being notified of the investigation, immediately settled with the SEC, cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s office, and accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea. His focus is now on his…