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Los Angeles Pastor Arrested For Running Ponzi Scheme Fraud

By George Miller  of Shustak Reynolds & Partners, P.C. posted on Monday, January 20, 2014.

The FBI recently announced that it has arrested Luis Alonso Serna, a pastor based in the San Fernando valley area of Los Angeles, in connection with a federal indictment alleging he ran a Ponzi scheme which bilked upwards of 70 investors out of more than $4 million.

Serna is the pastor of Zion Living Word Christian Center (formerly Amistad Christiana), a predominantly spanish-speaking church located in the San Fernando Valley. According to the indictment, Serna told parishoners and other prospective investors that he was a successful foreign currency investor and promised returns of up to 20%. According to prosecutors, Serna and those working with him even convinced some investors to take mortgages on their homes to invest.

Serna is accused of operating a classic Ponzi scheme. According to the SEC, a Ponzi scheme “is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.” Ponzi scheme fraudsters typically use money from new investors to make payments to individuals who invested earlier in the scheme.

If you have been the victim of a Ponzi Scheme, or are involved in a Ponzi scheme “claw-back” case, please contact our firm to discuss the specifics of your case.

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