WESTMINSTER (AP) – A former Southern California pastor was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison for masterminding a church-based investment scheme that bilked hundreds of victims of more than $33 million.
The former pastor of the Westminster-based Church for the Healthy Self, Kent R.E. Whitney was ordered to pay more than $22 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and filing a false federal income tax return.
The Securities and Exchange Commission says Whitney and his co-pastor allegedly targeted the Vietnamese community in a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme.
Whitney founded the church and operated it out of an Orange County strip mall. The church did not appear to have a sanctuary, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Mr. Whitney, upo