LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- He was a man of the cloth and the host of a TV show, but authorities said he betrayed those who trusted him by stealing millions.
Investigators say Pastor Samuel Solanky, who ran a charity called India at Our Doorsteps, responded to the Nigerians an offer by sending $50,000 of his own money.
“They claimed they wanted to donate a couple of million dollars to his charity,” said U.S. Postal Inspector John Marsh, “but they needed him to send payments for them to file the appropriate paperwork to do this donation.”
When the con artists kept saying they needed more money to file the appropriate paperwork, authorities say that’s when Solanky came up with this scheme.
“He told people if you give me an investment, you’ll get a 100 percent return on your investment within three months,” Marsh said. “And I’m going to use your money to buy gemstones and diamonds in India and sell them to jewelry manufacturers in the U.S.”
But there was no gemstone business. Nearly 40 people lost about $3 million. Solanky had connected with many of the victims through other ministers.
“One victim in particular, she lost $160,000,” Marsh said. “That was pretty much her life savings that she was to going to use to purchase a home for her and her family.”
Postal inspectors say there is a lesson here.
“When someone promises you 100 percent return on an investment in three months, it’s very, very unlikely that’s a legitimate investment,” Marsh said.