Indiana church financier gets 54 years in scheme

Associated Press/December 7, 2010

Sullivan, Indiana - A former southern Indiana pastor will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for pocketing millions of dollars that investors believed would be spent to build or expand churches.

A judge sentenced 66-year-old Vaughn Reeves to 54 years in prison during a court hearing Tuesday in Sullivan. A jury convicted him in October on nine counts of securities fraud.

Authorities say Reeves and his three sons duped about 11,000 investors into buying bonds worth $120 million secured by mortgages on construction projects at about 150 churches.

Prosecutors say the men diverted money from new investments to pay off previous investors, pocketing $6 million and buying two airplanes, sports cars and vacations.

Reeves' sons are scheduled to go on trial early next year.

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