Ponzi scheme
5:06 pm
Wed May 4, 2011

Anglican bishop among three men charged with running a $52 million Ponzi scheme

The bishop of a Anglican splinter group has been charged in federal court along with two other men of running a $52 million Ponzi scheme.

Martin T. Sigillito,  a 62-year-old attorney who is also a bishop in the American Anglican Convocation, along with a Kansas attorney and a British real estate speculator, were charged last month in a 22-count indictment unsealed today. The FBI began investigating last year.

The indictment issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri alleges that over a 1o-year period, Sigillito and James Scott Brown, the Kansas attorney, convinced investors to loan $52.5 million to real estate speculator Derek J. Smith. However, the indictment says, Sigillito and Brown kept most of the money or used it to pay off earlier investors.

The indictment alleges that Sigillito gained about $8 million from the fraud and used it to support a lavish lifestyle, including membership at private St. Louis clubs and the purchase of expensive artifacts and vacations.

Sigillito faces wire and mail fraud, and money laundering charges. If convicted, he'll have to forfeit the  $52.5 million plus property seized by law enforcement that includes Persian rugs, antique books, and a 2006 Volvo.

Sigillito also faces numerous civil suits.