Passion for Truth Ministries Pastor Jim Stanley, now 40, who told his St. Charles, Missouri, congregation last year that he didn’t realize he had been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him last June for defrauding investors, admitted in federal court Thursday that he cheated his elderly victims out of $3.3 million while making $570,000 for himself.
In a courtroom packed with supporters, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Staley, who owned a financial consulting form, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud rather than taking his case to trial. He admitted that he cheated 16 investors, and his defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum, says his client was ashamed and “completely accepted responsibility.” The attorney stressed that the crime “had nothing to do with his role as a pastor.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins said some of the investors trusted Staley because he was a “nice religious man” who referred to several of them as “Grandma.”
“Seniors tend to be more trusting and give people the benefit of the doubt, particularly people who hold themselves out as religious leaders,” said Collins.