Minister Who Bilked Church Members In Twin Ponzi Schemes Pleads Guilty; Congregants Lost More Than $1 Million

A Pennsylvania minister who ran two Ponzi schemes and bilked New Jersey churchgoers out of more than $1 million has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud.

Terence Mayfield of Phoenixville faces up to 40 years in prison and fines in excess of $250,000. Sentencing is set July 14, before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez.

Prosecutors said Mayfield, 47, fleeced members of the Church of Grace and Peace in Toms River, N.J., by getting them to invest in fraudulent real-estate schemes. One of the scams involved foreclosure bailouts. The scams were uncovered by an attorney who belonged to the church and notified authorities.

Mayfield had been a guest minister at the church and soon pitched an opportunity offered by his Pennsylvania company, known as 4 Life LLC.

“Soon after he first spoke to congregants, Mayfield began soliciting money from church members and holding meetings at the church and elsewhere,” prosecutors said.

Mayfield positioned himself as “a legitimate investment advisor” and required each potential investor to pay between approximately $1,000 and $1,500 as an “entry fee” to the [My Home Banc] program,” prosecutors said.

Congregants were told that My Home Bank, or MHB, “would help investors eliminate debt and build wealth through investments in income-generating real estate,” prosecutors said. Mayfield also suggested investing in distressed real estate.

“After paying the fee, potential investors met with Mayfield regarding the investment program, at which time Mayfield told the potential investors that he would identify and provide them with information about available income-generating properties which would generate positive cash flow for the potential investor,” prosecutors said.

In some instances, Mayfield advised church members who did not have cash at their disposal to refinance their homes, prosecutors said.

Mixing investors’ money with his personal money also was part of the scheme, prosecutors said.

“Mayfield admitted that he did not maintain the funds in escrow accounts as he told investors would be the case,” prosecutors said. “[He] also admitted that aside from helping two investors identify and arrange for the purchase of an investment property in Charlotte, N.C., he never purchased or arranged for the purchase of investment properties for investors from the church as part of the mail fraud. Mayfield used the investors’ funds to repay earlier investors and to pay his personal expenses.”

At the same time, prosecutors said, Mayfield conned both investors and homeowners in a foreclosure-bailout scheme. The homeowners lost at least $75,000 in the deal, which involved purported real-estate transactions in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Beginning in May 2007, Mayfield solicited prospects to invest in a program he referred to as “foreclosure bailouts,”  prosecutors said.

“To induce these individuals to invest in this program, Mayfield explained that the investor would buy the home of a homeowner who was at risk of foreclosure and then lease the home back to the homeowner for a two-year period. The homeowner would then use a portion of the proceeds to pay the investor an ‘investment fee’ and Mayfield a ‘broker’s fee.’

“Additionally, the homeowner would place two years’ worth of rent payments into an escrow account, which would be maintained by Mayfield, as a security deposit,” prosecutors continued.

“At the end of the two-year period, Mayfield explained, the homeowner would have the opportunity to repurchase the home from the investor. Mayfield, as part of the scheme and to induce a homeowner to participate in a ‘foreclosure bailout,’ made substantially the same representations to homeowners with a significant exception: That the escrow account funds would not serve as security for the investor, but rather would be ‘drawn down’ on a monthly basis and used to pay the homeowner’s monthly rent payments,” prosecutors said.

“Mayfield admitted that at the closing of the ‘foreclosure bailout’ transactions, he directed the homeowner to either wire transfer or directly deposit funds intended to be maintained in an escrow account into his company’s bank account. Mayfield admitted he did not maintain the funds in escrow, but instead used the funds for his own benefit,” prosecutors said.

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15 Responses to “Minister Who Bilked Church Members In Twin Ponzi Schemes Pleads Guilty; Congregants Lost More Than $1 Million”

  1. Another pastor accused of stealing:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-8445227,00.html

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  2. Be extremely careful who you trust with you money. Anyone can be a con artist.

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  3. This guy has been doing this scam with some variation for many years in several locations, he preys on folks from behind his store bought collar and takes their money by selling them on financial independance through real estate investments, when he gets caught, he pleads guilty and agrees to make restitution, get his sentence reduced makes a few payments and strats again somewhere else. This is act 4 that I know of.

    This dude needs to be behind bars for the balance of his natural life for this and he previous sins.

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  4. Terry Mayfield has caused so many people to be homeless, that it’s ridulous! But shame on us church folks who dare to believe that nobody would come into the Sanctuary, the House of God….and cheat, lie, scam, etc. WE (MOST OF US) WHO BELIEVE, WOULD BE TOO AFRAID TO DO SUCH A THING! WE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS ACT IS DIRECTLY AGAINST GOD, HIMSELF!!! But demons will do this in a heartbeat….which is what Terry did. He’ll answer to a much higher calling than the courts, believe me. I have lived a long time, and have NEVER KNOWN ANYONE not to reap what they’ve sown. It will follow him, his children, and possibly his children’s children, unless he repents from his heart (with this heart broken). This is “Thus sayeth the Lord”.

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  5. This man has no respect for people. In 2004 he pulled this scam on us and stole over 150k from us. He didn’t stop there, when trying to sell our home, we found that he had our social security #’s, bank account information, drivers license numbers and forged a power of attorney. This man managed to take out loans on our house without us knowing about it. Our house is now in foreclosure, I have lost my job, we are forced to file for bankruptsy, and now unable to pay for my Autistic sons medical needs. We have been told that we will not receive any restitution. Personally, I don’t think 40 years is enough. He will probably get out on good behavior, just like the last time he was in jail for this same scam. Even his parole officer knew what he was doing and did nothing to stop him. Great justice system…..I think we need to look into the way Saudia Arabia takes care of criminals.

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  6. I find all the Christians on here to be shocking! What about forgiveness???? And do you know why he plead guilty well do you? Not because he did it but because the FBI said they would come after my mother (if you didn’t catch on he is my father). He is an honest man who desires to help people and now because of you people my family has been torn apart and we are barely able to survive. I don’t think any of you know the entire story of what happened and I do, I was there every seminar and every message so don’t get it twisted my father is a great man who may have made a mistake but he did not steal. And to the person who doesn’t think 40 years is enough…think about his family you revenge seeking vulture. That is all for now and I hope you all get my point. Be…..Blessed I will pray God has mercy on you all

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  7. Alexis Mayfield: because of you people my family has been torn apart

    Hello, Ms. Mayfield;

    With due respect for the anguish I hear in your post, I’d like to respond.

    I have no knowledge about this situation other than what I’ve read on this forum. However, this I can say with certainty: Whatever has taken place in this case was not caused by the “you people” referred to in your post. Posters on this forum don’t have any impact other than what they write here. Whether it was, indeed, criminal acts – or he “made a mistake” – it certainly must be his actions that triggered your family’s current problems.

    By the way, as a Christian I can say from personal experience that forgiveness (and salvation) is available from the Lord, but that doesn’t eliminate the earthly consequences of our actions.

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  8. Alexis,

    It is very heartening to read the words that you have written. When I last saw you, you and your brother were so small. Obviously, you have grown and have great strength in spite of all that you have been through.

    Without mincing words, I will say that there are a number of people that have been hurt – a number financially and others emotionally and spiritually. You are reading the mourning and pain of others who have lost so much. Their feelings must be validated. In many cases, it is all that they have left.

    Speaking for those that worked with your father, I would say that we pray for healing right now in your soul and in your spirit. For your mother, I pray that she is able to make some right out of all of this. Your father is a man of great potential. That is one thing that we collectively witnessed and can agree with you on. My earnest prayer is that he will seek the Lord’s forgiveness.

    God Bless You…trust in the Lord.

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  9. Alexis,

    I understand your pain…truly. He’s your dad! Of course most people will understand why you stand up for him. However, its amazing to me that you can read the story directly before yours of how an entire family ‘s lives were ruined because of your father’s “work” and not feel any compassion for them. Many families’ lives were ruined because of what your father did, including yours. He stole from my church as well, and me. I forgive him truly, but the bible also talks about abiding by the law of the land. Here that is the federal law. And as far as your father not stealing? Tell that to the many people, including me, who have still not received the money we gave to him in trust. I truly do hope you move on from this and God heals your heart and your family. But the truth is the truth. Don’t be deceived….

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  10. It is so interesting that I came across this site. I find that it very interesting that many Christians are so gullible to get-rich quick schemes, particularly, coming from people who claim God has sent them. It is also more inviting when the “con” person convinces a Pastor to go along with the scheme, and he/she in turns advises the congregation to participate. Watch some of these television ministries; that should be enough for you to run the other way. Remember, the Bible declares “a fool and his money are soon departed.

    Alexis,

    Forgiveness should always be the order of the day for Christians. It is part of our testimony that we belong to Jesus, and we do not act like the world. I empathize with you, your mother and your siblings. However, the fact of the matter is, your father tore your family apart. He was not able to overcome his past hurts, and took it our on other folks. You asked me how I know. I worked with him and for him and I saw things first hand. I am just glad I never gave him any money. Read Genesis and look at what happened to Adam when he sinned against God. You’ll find that he hid, blamed someone else, made excuses, and eventually was made to work the rest of his days. This is what sin does to us. I feel your pain, but sin is sin. I hope your mom and siblings are doing well. God Bless.

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  11. What was the sentence that Terry Mayfield received and where is he imprisoned.

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  12. It’s a shame that your family was torn apart…but your father also left me homeless and I trusted him at a time that I was having problems with my mortgage. He stole over 40K from me. All this under the cover of Christianity. It was not fair and unfortunately he was your father. What people are saying about him may be crass but most are victims of his evil. He never stopped…he went on to other states and committed the same crimes. Is there forgiveness…yes, but it takes a long time for healing and the bible says “vengance is mine”.

    I pray for your healing and please pray for mine

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  13. Alexis — This is not about a lack of forgiveness on my part. It is massive disappointment. I loved your dad like my own sons. He told everyone that I was his “mom” and my son he called his “twin brother.” I was there for your mom and your dad — especially in hard times. I visted him in jail and went to his court appearance. You kids spent the night at my house. We spent holdays together.

    Yet, your dad took my entire inheritance.

    I never filed charges – believing that because of this special relationship, your dad (or mom) would someday would make recompense to me. Yet, there has never been communication from anyone.

    Now, we are at a time in life where we urgently need what was taken. My heart is open… and I hope you can hear it.

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  14. Survivor

    It was a long journey spiritually being under the ministry where Terry was suppose to be the ” covering. ” of many who were looking for something spiritually. The spiritual and emotional abuse that many experienced, including myself was unbelievable.
    The part that I played in it and had to ask God for forgiveness is that I should of had my own personal relationship with God and never put my trust in man. ” covering ” ” or no covering . ” All men are imperfect. I can go on and on however when I look back, I THANK GOD that I can say I am an overcomer and a survivor, it is definitely my testimony today. What was meant for evil God turned it around for my good.

    Forgiveness is huge in all of this and no matter what Terry has done, because of Gods Grace and Mercy God has forgiven him too. However there is consequences for our actions, whether it be good, bad or indifferent.
    I pray Gods peace, comfort and healing to everyone who was affected by this journey, physically, mentally, spiritually and financially.

    There is no such thing as a big or little sin however there is a such thing as forgiveness.

    Healing Heart

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  15. I was approached by someone from the church of Grace and Peace who told me I should come to these seminars Mayfield is giving.
    I was almost talked into going, but I had to work and something told me not go get involved even if I could go.

    I was told at the time that Walter Healy, Seniot Pastor and all leadership approved this Mayfield to come in and proposition all the members!!! Very sad they would allow him to come in and lie and steal from the members.

    I hope all the good people who were scammed are doink ok now.
    Thank you God for not allowing me to destroy my family and have this church and their friend to take my kids college education fund and convince me to refinance my house so they could prosper.

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