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05/02/2012

North Texas scheme targeted Christian investors, SEC says

The pitch: Buy stock and earn 10 times your investment in a year. Or buy a promissory note and double your money in 60 to 90 days. In just a few months' time, a man from Little Elm and his brother persuaded evangelical Christians to invest almost $80 million in what the men described as a "lifestyle tele-media company" called Usee that would pay fabulous returns, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  You see where this is going, right? The SEC has sued Terry Wiese of the Denton County town of Little Elm and his brother Scott Wiese of California, accusing them of selling fraudulent, unregistered offerings. All but two of the 80-some investors lost all their money, and the two who did get partial payments were paid with funds from other investors, the SEC says in its lawsuit. Half of the investors were teachers, staff members and parents of students at what is described as a Dallas-area private Christian school. The lawsuit, filed Monday, doesn't name the school but says that Terry Wiese's wife works there.  - Lois Norder

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