Treasure Enterprise Case News
SEC files civil fraud charges against Flint pastor who targeted retirees
FLINT, MI — A Flint pastor faces civil fraud charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and his assets have been frozen.
Larry Holley, 59, pastor of Flint-based Abundant Life Ministries, exploited church members, retirees and laid-off auto workers into investing in a real estate business he claimed was successful, according to a civil complaint filed by the SEC.
But prosecutors claim some investors never saw their promised returns. More than 40 investors are still owed roughly $2 million, according to court records.
Holley, of Grand Blanc, used faith-based rhetoric and scripture and biblical references to lure in investors, the SEC claims.
He hosted financial presentations masked as “blessed life conferences” at churches across the country, the SEC said, and because Holley was a man who “prayed for your children,” he was more trustworthy than a “banker” with their money.
Holley’s company, Treasure Enterprise LLC, and his business partner, Patricia Enright Gray, of Flint, who is also named in the civil action, bilked about $6.7 million from more than 80 investors who were promised high returns because they were investing in a profitable real estate company with hundreds of residential and commercial properties, the SEC claims.
“Holley and Gray targeted the retirement savings of churchgoers, building a bond of trust purportedly based on faith but actually based on false promises,” David Glockner, director of the SEC’s Chicago regional office said in a statement.
Gray also advertised on a religious radio station in Flint and called for laid-off auto workers who had severance packages to consult her for a “financial increase,” the SEC alleges.
Investors were allegedly promised by Gray that she would roll over their retirement funds into tax-advantaged Individual Retirement Accounts and invest them in Treasure Enterprise.
No investor funds were ever deposited into IRAs, according to the SEC, and Treasure Enterprise struggled to make enough revenue from its real estate investment to support the business and make payments owed to investors.
Treasure Enterprise investors are owed $1.9 million in past-due payments, the SEC alleges.
Holley, Gray and Treasure Enterprise were not registered to sell investments.
The SEC has obtained a temporary restraining order to freeze the assets of Holley, Gray and Treasure Enterprise, the statement said.
Holley, Gray and Treasure Enterprise were first ordered to cease and desist from selling unregistered securities, from acting as unregistered agents and from making false or misleading statements in the offer and sale of securities, in August.
Holley’s wife, Carleen Renee Holley, 53, is also named in the civil action. The SEC claims she was affiliated with the business and does not hold any securities licenses.