SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a state prison sentence of 23 years and eight months for Luther Feltus-Curry, a Vallejo pastor who masterminded a malicious fraud scheme preying on members of his own church congregation. Earlier this year, his co-conspirator Alma Perez was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for her role in the scheme.
“This is a despicable case in which church congregants trusted their pastor and then lost their life savings,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today's sentence serves as a stern warning – the California Department of Justice will vigorously descend on individuals who use positions of trust to scam people.”
While serving as pastor for a church in Vallejo, Feltus-Curry identified congregants who were retiring or who came upon large sums of money and took advantage of his position of trust to defraud them. From 2008 to 2012, the defendants created shell companies to package investments, promising the unsuspecting victims low risk and high returns. Instead, the victims' funds were deposited into accounts controlled by Perez, where she transferred the money back to Feltus-Curry. The defendants used nearly $900,000 of the victims' money on personal expenses and get-rich-quick schemes. The victims were defrauded of their entire investment.
In February 2017, a jury found Feltus-Curry guilty of 27 felony counts of theft and securities fraud and Perez guilty of 11 felony counts, including the special enhancements for the large dollar loss taken from the victims.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra / Friday, September 15, 2017
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