Officials state that the Winans gospel-music family led a multimillion-dollar
fraudulent investment program promoting fake oil bonds from Saudi Arabia.
Although the alleged scheme probably ceased sometime around 2008, the
Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation uncovered the scam earlier
this year. Shortly thereafter, a cease-and-desist order was issued.
Michael Winans Jr. told investors that they could double their money in
60 days. Detroit police identified and interviewed at least 180 investors,
but state regulators say that the actual number is higher.
Investigators allege that Michael Winans Jr. orchestrated securities fraud
that resulted in hundreds of hardworking Detroit residents losing millions
of dollars. Unscrupulously promising high guaranteed returns, the gospel
group supposedly stole millions from its unsuspecting flock of devoted,
Reports indicate that the
Ponzi scheme was worth at least $2.6 million, but could have been as high as $11 million.
Winans are believed to have used church connections to draw investors
starting in early 2007.
The Winans have been unavailable for comments and seem to have gone missing.
Phone numbers linked to Michael Winans Jr.’s address in the Detroit
area ring with no answer. Numbers listed for Winans’ music publishing
company in Detroit have been disconnected.
State regulators have found that Winans and associates violated the state's
Uniform Securities Act. Violators of this act face a maximum penalty of
$25,000 per violation, and possibly ten years in prison. Investigations
have now been turned over to local and federal law enforcement agencies.