When a new divorcée looked to Texas pastor Samuel Ray Palasota for spiritual guidance and emotional support, the pastor was mostly interested in her one-million-dollar divorce settlement.
Federal prosecutors say he swindled her out of two-thirds of that sum. Rather than investing it in real estate, as he’d said he would, Palasota blew the money on personal expenses and cars.
A self-styled pastor and real-estate investor surrendered to federal authorities on charges that he conned $650,000 from a woman, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Samuel Ray Palasota, 52, of Houston, turned himself in following the return of a 24-count indictment, including 21 counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
The indictment indicates he provided the woman with an investment schedule that claimed the minimum rate of return would increase by five percent for every additional $100,000 she invested, up to a maximum of $650,000.
The woman subsequently invested the maximum $650,000 in Palasota’s scheme, according to allegations. Palasota then allegedly used those funds for his personal benefit, including paying his personal expenses and purchasing automobiles.
If convicted, Palasota faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the 24 counts against him.
[image via churchmarketingonline]