A Pastor and a $9 Million Foreign Currency Ponzi Scheme
A Toronto pastor and his wife were accused of defrauding more than 200 parishioners out of nearly $9 million under the ruse that they were generating above-average returns through dabbling in foreign-currency trading.
Marlon Gary Hibbert and Verna Hibbert were charged with 38 criminal counts in mid-2013 by Toronto police, who alleged that the pair lived a luxurious lifestyle by misappropriating investor funds.
From 2005 to 2010, the Hibberts oversaw a congregation at the Masonic Church of God in Toronto’s east end. In addition to fulfilling their divine duties, Mr. Hibbert told parishioners he could generate monthly returns of up to 8.5% through his skills as a foreign currency trader. Interested congregants were required to invest at least $10,000 with Mr. Hibbert, and at least $8.6 million was raised from approximately 200 parishioners.
However, Toronto police alleged that Hibbert did not generate the promised returns, instead using incoming investor funds to make the monthly interest payments. Additionally, Hibbert and his wife diverted investor funds for their own personal use, including the purchase of luxury automobiles and real estate.
Toronto police have also been unable to account for several million dollars, which they believe was diverted to an offshore bank account in Panama.