Consumer Alert: A trusted church deacon turns to greed and betra - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Consumer Alert: A trusted church deacon turns to greed and betrayal in Ponzi scam

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William Spencer, a church deacon, stole millions from friends and family in a Ponzi scheme. William Spencer, a church deacon, stole millions from friends and family in a Ponzi scheme.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - He prayed with then and then stole from them. A church deacon stole millions from friends and family in a Ponzi scheme. This is a case of betrayal and greed.

"That's what nobody knows," says J.P. Whitehead, a fraud victim. "What happened to all of that money?"
 
Whitehead asks himself this question often when he tries to figure out how he lost more than $260,000 in an investment scheme.
 
"He was an elder, a deacon, teacher and even a preacher," says Whitehead.
 
Whitehead is talking about William Spencer, an investment advisor, who was also a member of Whitehead's church.
 
"I thought it was a blessing to have someone like that to handle what little money I had to do something with it," says Whitehead.
 
Spencer promised generous returns of 10 to 12 percent and characterized each investment as a "personal loan." He even wrote letters to investors, similar to an IOU, but the notes were worthless.
 
"These victims were easy prey and Mr. Spencer could get what he wanted," says Larry Dodson, a retired U.S. Postal Inspector.
 
"He didn't force me to do any of that stuff," says Whitehead. "I did it on my own, but I did it because of the trust I had in him."
 
Postal inspectors say when Spencer's Ponzi scheme unraveled, 100 people lost more than $2 million.
 
A warning from authorities; never blindly trust anyone managing your money.
 
"When you're going to invest, you need to trust and verify," says Dodson.
 
In the end in this case, all of the money was gone.

"I can't stick my head in the sand," says Whitehead. "I have to go on and try to overcome it the best I could."

William Spencer pleaded guilty to multiple charges of mail and wire fraud and is currently serving a six year sentence in federal prison.

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