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Rip-Off Alert: Deacon prays with flock, preys on funds

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 4/16/2014 5:14 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV — He prayed with them and then stole their millions in a Ponzi scheme involving a church deacon in Nashville.

In this Rip-Off Alert, investigators say it was a case of betrayal and greed.

Victim J.P. Whitehead asks himself a question often when he tries to figure out how he lost more than $260,000 in an investment scheme.

William Spencer, an investment adviser who was also a member of Whitehead’s church, promised generous returns of 10 percent to 12 percent and characterized each investment as a “personal loan.”

“I thought it was a blessing to have someone like that to handle what little money I had to do something with it,” Whitehead said.

“These victims were easy prey, and Mr. Spencer could get what he wanted,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Larry Dodson.

Postal inspectors say Spencer’s Ponzi scheme unraveled and 100 people lost more than $2 million.

Authorities caution never to blindly trust anyone managing your money.

“When you’re going to invest, you need to trust and verify,” Dodson said.

Spencer pleaded guilty to multiple charges of mail and wire fraud and is currently serving a six-year sentence in federal prison.

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