I need a blog like I need a hole in the head.
But it’s clear that these days, it’s an increasingly important way of getting one’s views and convictions into the broader public discussion and debate. And before it is too late, there are some things I’d like to get into circulation.
My overriding concern now is the mad course down which my country’s rulers are headed, and what faith groups can do about it. My perspective is “sectarian,” rooted in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers.) As the saying goes, I’m proud to be a humble Quaker.
But my sense is that people from other faith groups, or none, can learn things from our experience and discussions — and we can learn from others.
So let’s do it.
In the Productions Plus/Priscilla Deters case, the cast of characters covers a range that would strain a novelist’s imagination. Consider these few:
The President’s Chaplain. If anyone deserves the melancholy credit for turning Priscilla Deters loose on Friends, it is unmistakably T. Eugene Coffin. Coffin was once pastor of the East Whittier Friends Church where Richard Nixon was a member. He preached several times at Nixon’s White House worship services. When East Whittier received minutes from more than 200 Friends meetings asking for Nixon’s disownment over Vietnam and Watergate, it was Coffin who explained that they were not going to do any such thing. (Coffin is now suffering from Alzheimers, and unable to respond to interview requests.)
Continue reading Stranger than Fiction: The Cast of Productions Plus
Church Money Used for “Ponzi” Fraud Scheme–Kansas Investigator
Update by Chuck Fager
Wichita, Kansas – Maurice Roberts, the former Superintendent of Mid-America Yearly Meeting, testified for several hours Thursday as a key witness in a major church fraud trial here. Priscilla Deters, 63, of Walnut, California is being tried on 13 charges of wire and mail fraud in U.S. District Court. The charges are in connection with a “Ponzi” scheme which prosecutors say collected over $6 million from churches and church members in twenty-one states.
Continue reading Cherokee Quaker Church Fraud
Welcome to the online edition of A Friendly Letter. In addition to back issues, there are some new reports as well. The major new report is about two multi-million dollar financial frauds, perpetrated on Quakers and other churches. Another new addition is a personal tribute to Bill Kriedler, a very fine Quaker minister who died in June, 2000.
Continue reading A Friendly Letter: Intro to the Blog
by Chuck Fager
Wichita, Kansas — Priscilla Deters, 63, of Walnut, California went on trial here Tuesday on 13 counts of wire and mail fraud, in connections with investment programs run by her company, Productions Plus.
Continue reading February 24, 1998: Deters Trial Opens in Wichita
Update by Chuck Fager
Wichita, Kansas — Part of the more than $400,000 collected by the Cherokee Friends Church, intended for investment in a profitable business, was instead used to pay back a Quaker College in Kansas as part of a “Ponzi” fraud scheme, a Kansas jury was told today.
Continue reading February 25, 1998: Cherokee Quaker Church Money Used for “Ponzi” Fraud Scheme–Kansas Investigator
“Quakers make good victims,” says Steve Schroeder.He should know; as a federal prosecutor since 1974, he’s seen enough of them. Fraud victims, that is; Quakers were a relatively new experience. In particular, the ones who quoted the Gospel to him about staying out of court.
Continue reading “Quakers Make Good Victims”
In the early 1950s, Billy Britt attended Peoples Bible College in High Point, North Carolina. In 1993, Peoples had become John Wesley College, and Britt’s wife Viola was a member of its board. Frank Scurry, the NCYM pastor who also headed the Houston extension program there, told John Wesley’s President, Brian Donley, about Deters and Productions Plus. Donley was interested. His school was in tenuous financial condition: in debt, unaccredited, and paying very low salaries to its faculty. Donley and his board could think of many uses for matching grants: retiring the debt, some new building, scholarships.
Continue reading The Scent of Fraud Reaches The Houston Graduate School of Theology