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Ex-pastor of Westminster-based church sentenced to 14 years in prison for defrauding investors

A former pastor of the Westminster-based Church of the Healthy Self was sentenced Friday, Sept. 24 to 14 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $22 million in restitution after being accused of orchestrating a church-based investment scheme that took in $33 million..

Kent R.E. Whitney, 39, formerly of Newport Beach, pleaded guilty in November 2020 to two counts of mail fraud and filing a false federal income tax return.

Whitney started Church of the Healthy Self in 2014 and operated out of a strip mall in Westminster until April 2019, officials said.

Representatives of the church used television appearances and live seminars, which were often uploaded to Youtube, to encourage investors to put money into the CHS Trust, the church’s investment arm.

Investors were misled to believe that traders had not lost money in years, they were regularly audited and there was a guaranteed annual return rate of 12%, according to court records.

His victim investors were mainly in the Orange County, Northern California and Texas areas, officials said.

Whitney sent documents to investors with false reports of investment returns and filed a false federal income tax return for 2018. He reported his income at $17, 539, but his true income was over $450,000, most of which came from the CHS fraud.

LinkedIn cites Whitney’s previous professional experience as an investor and stock trader.

Source: Orange County Register

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