CFTC: South Carolina Pastor Ran Forex Ponzi Scheme From House Of Worship; Historic Church Property In Charleston Has Seen It All — From Lincoln Presidency And Civil War To Kennedy Assassination And Election Of Obama

The religious facility that ultimately became St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church has seen a lot of history in its 160 years on Anson Street in Charleston, S.C. Construction predated the Civil War by 11 years. The facility opened in 1850 as the Anson Street Chapel for black Presbyterians, according to records maintained by the Charleston County Public Library.

During this time, the United States was transitioning after the sudden death in office of President Zachary Taylor in 1850. Taylor was the 12th President of the United States. He was succeeded in office by Vice President Millard Fillmore, who never gained election in his own right after filling out Taylor’s term because voters in the North viewed him as willing to appease the South on the issue of slavery.

When the Anson Street Chapel opened in 1850, Abraham Lincoln was a prairie lawyer in Illinois, his ascension to the Presidency still four administrations away and the Great Civil War still more than decade away. The church, renamed St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in 1861, was hit by shells during the Civil War and “badly damaged,” but was rebuilt, according to library records. The facility survived to serve congregants for more than 100 years, before closing in 1965 — two years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and 20 years after the end of World War II.

St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church bought the property and restored it in 1971, during the Vietnam War-era administration of President Richard M. Nixon and about a year before the word “Watergate” became part of the national consciousness. Barack Obama was 10 years old in 1971, 37 years away from his election as the 44th President and 28 administrations removed from Lincoln’s Civil War-era Presidency.

Now the church has seen another sort of history: Its pastor, the Rev. Ronald Satterfield, has been accused by the CFTC of operating a Forex Ponzi scheme from inside the facility. One of the company’s he allegedly formed — Graham Street Forex Group LLC — used the church’s address of 91 Anson Street, according to documents.

Co-defendant Nicholas Bos of Ludington, Mich., used a business card that depicted a “one million dollar bill” and described the scam as an opportunity to earn “24% a year” as a participant in “Special programs,” CFTC alleged.

Also named a defendant was an entity known as Shore-2-Summit Financial LLC.

Satterfield “independently solicited acquaintances, members of his church congregation and their friends and family, and others in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland, for funds to trade forex,” CFTC alleged.

The scam operated “at least” between March 2006 and March 2009, CFTC alleged.

To conceal the fraud, “Satterfield and Bos issued false customer account statements reflecting the promised returns and forex trading profits, when in fact Satterfield’s forex trading resulted in losses almost every month,” CFTC said.

“The false statements also allegedly concealed their misappropriation of customer funds. In total, the complaint charges Satterfield and Bos with misappropriating more than $850,000 of customer funds for personal use,” CFTC said.

More than 70 customers were fleeced in a scheme that gathered about $3.3 million, CFTC said.

Satterfield told the Post and Courier of Charleston that CFTC had mischaracterized his trading activities.

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