Fake Fort Wayne Pastor Sentenced for Using Faith to Cheat Investors
A Fort Wayne insurance agent has been sentenced to eight years and ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution for posing as a pastor and using his Christian faith to swindle investors out of more than $30 million.
According to court documents, Bradley Collins used his Christian faith to lure investors into a Ponzi scheme allegedly orchestrated by Michigan insurance agent David McQueen. Collins acted as a “sales agent” for McQueen from Jan. 2007 to Dec. 2010, earning 1 to 2% commissions for each client dollar invested in the unregistered funds.
Court documents show that “Collins often emphasized his Christianity while soliciting the investment even wearing a 'pastor's outfit' to a solicitation meeting.” He also repeatedly assured clients that he and McQueen were "good Christian men" whom God had brought together. Authorities say at least 129 investors lost more than $30 million in the scheme.
“Collins worked under the guise of a religious man and told his victims he only worked with God-fearing, church going people and was blessed to be blessing potential investors,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “His portrayal of a Christian man put many of his victims at ease, increasing the amount of funds they invested.”
Though charged with money laundering, corrupt business influence, selling unregistered securities, being an unregistered broker/dealer, and five counts of securities fraud, Collins pleaded guilty only to selling unregistered securities. As part of his plea agreement, he has agreed to testify in a federal prosecution against McQueen. For additional details, read The Journal Gazette’s Oct. 2012 article on the fake Fort Wayne pastor Bradley Collins case here.