Armstrongism has always been rife with people who were out to make a quick buck off of members and others. Numerous Pasadena employees and members were involved in every imaginable get rich scheme possible. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost by members over the years to these liars and crooks. Many of the people who did this are now are part of LCG, UCG and PCG.
One woman in Pasadena years ago conned widows and other others out of hundreds of thousands of dollars with her lies. Doris W. bankrupted numerous people with her lies. People complained to the ministry about her and they did nothing. She was using the money to help her son instead. He always thought he was God's greatest gift to the church and now regularly preaches in a couple Church of God's.
Pyramid schemes involving Amway, Shaklee, knives, pots and pans, gold bullion and silver investing were the favorite modes of taking members money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost by members with the gold and silver investing promoted by kitchen, maintenance and accounting employees.
Most of these crooks got away with it because members were brainwashed to never prosecute or sue another member. Most were afraid to ever report these people to the authorities for fear of being disfellowshipped.
Because of that way of thinking, several men and women got bolder and bolder in their schemes.
One former Church of God member that did not get away with it though is Arthur Ferdig. Ferdig was a personal assistant to Herbert Armstrong and an editor for the church magazine, The Plain Truth.
Ferdig was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the failed Tradex ponzi scheme that ripped off over 100 million dollars from investors.
A tax-evasion charge may not be glamorous, but it's how they caught Al Capone. Ferdig's defence - that this money was a salary - would be blown apart by Kenney, who could clearly show Tradex had been a Ponzi.
To date, Martin Kenney & Co has frozen or liquidated nine Ferdig gang-controlled assets and seized accounts worth over $10 million. A $35 million default judgment has been awarded against Rachel Riotte and Jeff and Alisa Lockhart. A $500,000 judgment was obtained against Elaine Ferdig and her son-in-law David Riotte. And the con man himself is facing a $20 million judgment.
Members of the Ferdig gang are attempting to cut deals, but much of the money is gone, and some had never been there at all. The liquidator has found that 45 per cent of the $80 million (by Kenney's estimate) taken in by Ferdig was paid out in "scam interest". A third went to the Ferdig gang and "to parties of questionable relation to the stated business activities of Tradex". Only 1.5 per cent went on Susan Lok's (loss-making) currency trades. The rest funded operating expenses or was paid to various "bird dogs". Follow the Money
Like Ron Weinland, another Church of God minister recently convicted of tax evasion, Fredig was nailed for the same thing.
The Enterprise Report has learned that Arthur A. Ferdig, a self proclaimed religious leader and financial head of a now defunct offshore wordwide currency trading operation known as 'Tradex' that failed over three years ago, leaving hundreds of investors and over a 100-million dollars in investor funds missing, has been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Los Angeles. He was arrested by federal agents last month.
The charges are detailed in a recently unsealed Federal grand jury indictment obtained by TER. Ferdig is charged with allegedly failing to pay millions of dollars in U.S. taxes on income obtained via 'Tradex'. He also did not file a tax return for 15 years the government claims. Ferdig was arrested last month and remains in federal custody. Ferdig and others involved with 'Tradex' have been under investigation since at least 2006 by the FBI and other federal and state agencies. EXCLUSIVE: THE GURU OF PONZI: INDICTED AND ARRESTED BY THE FEDS: HE TALKED TO GOD AND ANGELS, BUT NOT THE I.R.S.
Ferdig was also known for talking to "angels". One angel in particular spoke to him regularly, "Angel Metatron." Fredig even wrote books about this angel:
Ferdig fancied himself “The Bridge” between angels and earthlings. His non-Forex product lineup included “Angel Tears,” defined on his website as “an all-natural, bio-trace mineral tincture developed to enhance human health and vitality.”
Ferdig claimed to have met his first angel, Metatron, on Sept. 22, 2002, while Ferdig was peering over rocky sea cliffs in Negril, Jamaica. He later met Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, Ezrael, Ariel, Raphael, Muriel, Bethany “and other wonderful and loving angels and spirits of light,” according to his website. Feds Make Major Arrest In Tax Case Linked To Offshore Forex Fraud Scheme Known As Tradex; Arthur A. Ferdig, Who Claimed To Be ‘Taught By Angels,’ Detained On Felony Warrant
Ferdig's criminal activity also led to drug overdoses and the suicide of a woman who was distraught over losing money and for encouraging others to join the scheme:
The first sign of trouble was the 911 call from Susan Lok's Glendora home. It was March 2003, and the currency trader had just taken an overdose. The ambulance crew was greeted by a suburban Los Angeles house where Lok had been living with her Cambodian father - and secretly passing millions of dollars from a sophisticated Ponzi fraud through the family bank account. Follow the Money
Most Tradex investors had met Ferdig, a self-proclaimed "man of God", through his extensive Christian networks - just as Jewish investors would meet Bernie Madoff. What most of his flock would not have known was that Ferdig had been involved for many years with a controversy-dogged Californian evangelical group, the Worldwide Church of God. Ferdig had worked as "personal assistant" to its founder during the 70s, a period when the church had been rocked by numerous sexual and financial scandals.