Police: Brothers Targeted Church Members - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Police: Brothers Targeted Church Members

Court issues restraining order to try to recover victims' money



    Twin brothers who attend a Dallas megachurch are accused of defrauding church members and others out of millions of dollars in what federal authorities are calling a Ponzi scheme.

    The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is going through the court system to try to get back $5.5 million for at least 99 alleged victims.

    But the investors said they feel cheated by two people they thought they could trust.

    Robert Whitehead was introduced to Rodney and Roger Wagner by a friend. He said he invested $10,000 a year ago and lost all but $500 of it.

    Police: Ponzi Scheme Targeted Members of Church

    [DFW] Police: Ponzi Scheme Targeted Members of Church
    Grand Prairie police say two brothers fraudulently solicited at least $5.5 million from 99 people through a Ponzi scheme, many of the victims are members of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011)

    He said he met the brothers at one of their homes in Grand Prairie, where they operated their investment firm, GID Group.

    "Charlatans; they're scam artists," Whitehead said. "They were very intelligent, very well-read, college-educated. If you looked them up on the Internet, a lot of things are out there on them in a very positive light -- nothing negative whatsoever."

    NBC 5 could not reach the Wagners in person or by phone. A sign at their house directs people to their office, which no longer exists.

    "The Wagners feel really bad about what happened," said their attorney, Dan Gurthrie. "Neither had any intention to violate any law."

    The Wagners were two of the 10,000 members of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.

    "It's surprising," church spokeswoman Shari Carroll said. "We have a spiritual obligation to address this situation."

    The Rev. Dr. Tony Evans, the church's senior pastor, said he has met with the Wagners and some of the alleged victims.

    "It's hurtful -- the whole idea that you trust someone and they paint a beautiful picture," Whitehead said.

    A hearing is scheduled at the federal courthouse Friday. The court has ordered the brothers' assets to be frozen, and no one is allowed to destroy their financial books and records.