Is it time for Kool-Aid communion, yet?

1,200 investors, and more than $190 million lost in just 3 years. It all began as market turmoil gained momentum in the run-up to the Great Recession, and investors were searching for a safe haven for their savings.

Minnesota money manager Trevor Cook and radio show host Pat Kiley said they had the answer, with the promise of solid returns and a no-loss guarantee. The Securities and Exchange Commission, however, calls it a “scheme to defraud perpetrated by Cook and Kiley…”

Kiley, 72, used the airwaves to get the word out on his weekly Christian radio program, “Follow the Money.” Kiley called his listeners “truth seekers” and appealed to their distrust of Wall Street and the government…

Cook and Kiley told investors that they could withdraw their money at any time. Now almost all the money is gone, and investors are out of luck…

Some investors were drawn in through Kiley’s radio show. In fact…Kiley claims his radio program brought in 75% of the funds raised in the foreign currency program…

Merri Jo Gillette, who heads the SEC’s Midwest division in Chicago, says…“Nobody’s gonna protect you from these folks except yourself,” Gillette told CNNMoney.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. If it sounds too good to be true – and “God says it’s safe” – run for the nearest exit!




  1. bobbo, is it narcissistic to even read, much less respond, to a blog? says:

    Well, at least they actually invested the money and honestly lost it rather than just steal it.

    One investor lost 4 million dollars. Now, that is very strange to me. I thought rich people needed tax breaks so that they could build new businesses and employ people in new jobs? Who would ever guess they would make passive investments as directed by god instead?

    We are all assaulted by lies of many shapes and colors = all the time, and usually for the same end goal.

    I got mine, screw you.

  2. JAK says:

    A fool and his money are soon parted. Isn’t that the old saying?

  3. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    If it sounds too good to be true – and “God says it’s safe” – run for the nearest exit!

    A series of PSA’s are running on TV stations in Indiana saying the same thing.

  4. Mojo Yugen says:

    God giveth and God taketh away…but mostly taketh.

  5. chuck says:

    God guaranteed the investment. I suggest they take it up with him in person.

  6. Glass Half Full says:

    This is an OLD scheme, as old as religion itself. Religious folks (liars) always claim they need your money and possession. Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, Jim Bakker always needed your money…or specifically always said GOD needed your money. I mean think of it, GOD is a big guy and is very busy, he needs a nice car and big house. And if the (fake) televangelists ALSO take a cut and have some nice cars, houses and jewelery…hey that’s what god wants! Why should THEY be poor, they’re doing gods work! ROTFLMAO.

    People are stupid. I’m GLAD these people lost their money. They were too dumb to have it anyway.

    Fool and their money indeed.

  7. Floyd says:

    There are churches in Minneapolis that preach something called the “Prosperity Gospel,” supposedly because people that are “righteous” are more likely to prosper–and of course pass some of that prosperity to the church.

    Looks like the only ones prospering in this case are the “preachers.”

  8. Zuse says:

    I was once told that the quickest way to double my money was to fold it in half and put it back in my pocket.

  9. ethanol says:

    @Floyd (#7),

    The “Prosperity Gospel” baloney isn’t just in Minneapolis. It is all over the country right now and it is total bunk.

  10. Floyd says:

    #9:
    Well I guess that means that there are a lot of suckers born every minute. Pathetic…

  11. LotsaLuck says:

    Ah… the ‘bash religion’ topic of the day at old DU!

    As I recall, Bernie Madoff made a big deal about how he was a former chairman of NASDAQ when he was soliciting funds, and nobody that I know of has been bashing NASDAQ for his subsequent criminal actions.

    The Good Book says: The love of money is the root of all evil.

    Folks, even good folks, who get greedy are bound to get stung.

  12. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    Lotsa something that isn’t luck==Did Bernie ever say NASDAQ wants you to invest with me?

    Onward Christian Soldier!

    BTW–this story isn’t about greedy preachers ripping people off===its about stupid preachers thinking god is talking to them.

  13. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    #12–Sorry==I’M WRONG. Read the link the first time too fast. Their are religion based investment portfolio’s who regularly lose money based on their faith that are not fraudulent other than god being fraudulent.

    This team of hucksters did allegedly divert 43 million of the investments to their own god fund. He does work in mysterious ways. How prideful the flock to think they can judge him so.

  14. Skeptic says:

    “Cook, according to the SEC, used $51 million collected from investors in later years to pay off early investors — a classic Ponzi scheme structure similar to the one orchestrated by Bernie Madoff. As with Madoff, Cook’s investors were given phony account statements that “falsely reported substantial, continuing gains,” according to the SEC.

    In its complaint, the SEC says that Cook and Kiley diverted nearly $43 million, “of their victims’ money to their own personal purposes … and for other illegal purposes.””

  15. Faxon says:

    #13 Wow. Bobbo is WRONG! First time in history.

  16. moondawg says:

    This just in: People you trust can more easily defraud you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confidence_trick

    Pining the responsibility on religion is just the specific instance of the general case.

  17. spsffan says:

    #7 “supposedly because people that are “righteous” are more likely to prosper”

    One look at Goldman Sachs or AIG should clear that up!

  18. Skeptic says:

    If you can believe in God, you can believe in anything.

  19. sdhouston says:

    Hilarious! Thanks John. Thank God I a am an Atheist!

  20. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    #15–Clap On/Clap Off==Not the first time, not the last.

    Have you ever posted you made a mistake?

    Just curious.

  21. Jorn says:

    quote: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”

    … uhm?!? I think you messed that one up.

  22. Kintaar says:

    Editor: It wasn’t Kool-Aid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Temple

  23. chris says:

    “the promise of solid returns and a no-loss guarantee”- Does not exist.

  24. chuck says:

    Serves ’em right for clinging to their guns and religion.

  25. mine mine mine says:

    Yes, you guessed it. Religion does not pay taxes of any sort. On your way to ruin, hunger and damnation please leave all your money in the collection plate. Don’t worry about it, the church will take care of you…….AFTER you’re broke. ALL religion should pay taxes. TAX THEM NOW. TAX THEM FROM NOW ON.

  26. Glenn E. says:

    As I recall hearing once. The Vatican pulled out of the Stock Market, back in 1929. And the very next week, it all came crashing down. Probably because so many were following Rome’s example, and pulling their money out too. True, market probably would have fell eventually, anyway. But maybe not so fast, and so badly. There might have been some breathing room to try and restore stability. But the Good Word was pull everything out now and hurry before your neighbors do.

  27. Benjamin says:

    Q: How do you end up with a million dollars by investing?

    A: Start with two million.

  28. Steve Gibbs says:

    There are churches in Minneapolis that preach something called the “Prosperity Gospel,” supposedly because people that are “righteous” are more likely to prosper–and of course pass some of that prosperity to the church.

    Looks like the only ones prospering in this case are the “preachers.”


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