All posts by rlewis

September 3, 1998 Harmon Case Update

More Charges to Come, Prosecutors Say

On September 3, Terrill D. “Terry” Beebe, signed a plea agreement in a Seattle Federal Court, admitting to “Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and Embezzlement from a Health Care Benefit Program, in violation of Title 18, U Code, Section 371,” according to the prosecutor’s information filed with the case. The charges were part of the ongoing investigation of the Philip Harmon-National Friends Insurance Trust Case, code-named “Operation Island Scam.”

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Quaker Church Fraud Sentencing Update: May 22, 1998

By Chuck Fager

Wichita, KS — Although Priscilla Deters insisted that, “I consider myself innocent of these charges,” adding that “I have a heart of grief, because I have been a victim too,” federal judge Monti Belot insisted on Friday, May 22 that she start serving her eleven-plus year sentence for wire and mail fraud immediately.

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March 13, 1998: Tough Deters Bail Conditions Set;Possible Future Indictments Seen

Update by Chuck Fager

Wichita, KS — On this Friday the 13th, U.S. Judge Monti Belot accepted Priscilla Deters’ plan for remaining free on bail until her sentencing, but imposed tough restrictions on the now convicted felon, and spoke darkly of her likely jail sentence. Belot also predicted that there might be additional prosecutions in the multimillion dollar church fraud case.

Continue reading March 13, 1998: Tough Deters Bail Conditions Set;Possible Future Indictments Seen

March 6, 1998: Deters Convicted Judge Says, “A Crook, of the First Water”

Update by Chuck Fager

Wichita, Kansas — Throughout the eight days of testimony in the Priscilla Deters-Productions Plus trial, U.S. District Judge Monti Belot was a model of judicial impartiality.

He reminded the jury that the defendant was presumed innocent, that she did not have to prove anything, and that they were not to draw negative inferences from her decision not to testify.  Before they left to deliberate, he instructed jurors that her good faith and character alone would be sufficient reasons to find her not guilty.

Continue reading March 6, 1998: Deters Convicted Judge Says, “A Crook, of the First Water”

March 3, 1998: Witness Says Deters Money a “Covenant,” not an “Investment”

Update by Chuck Fager

Wichita, Kansas — Randy Littlefield remains a true believer in Priscilla Deters’ honesty and character. He is also convinced that she has been persecuted by the authorities who now have her on trial.

With that background, his testimony in her trial could have been expected to be contentious, especially on cross-examination.

It was. The former pastor of the Cherokee Friends Church in Cherokee, Oklahoma, Littlefield sparred with prosecutors over almost every point of his statements regarding the fate of $475,000 sent to Deters’ company from Cherokee.

Continue reading March 3, 1998: Witness Says Deters Money a “Covenant,” not an “Investment”

March 2, 1998: First Defense Witnesses Roughed Up by Prosecutors in Productions Plus Trial

Update by Chuck Fager

Wichita, Kansas — Federal prosecutors aggressively questioned the first two defense witnesses in the Priscilla Deters-Productions Plus trial Monday.

Dominick Pepe, who was Deters’ banker in 1989-1990, was the first defense witness. He acknowledged giving favorable evaluations of Deters’ business to potential investors who called him as a reference. One of these inquirers was Maurice Roberts, former Superintendent of Mid-America Yearly Meeting of Friends.

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February 27, 1998: Wegner, Other Nazarene Churchmen Detail Frauds

Update by Chuck Fager

Wichita, Kansas – In the fourth day of the Priscilla Deters-Productions Plus church fraud trial, R.J. Wegner, Superintendent of North and South Dakota Nazarene churches, described in detail how he raised $628,000 for deposit in a fundraising scheme that was supposed to double the money with no risk, but in fact cost the churches and investors over $500,000 in losses.

Continue reading February 27, 1998: Wegner, Other Nazarene Churchmen Detail Frauds