Former pastor pleads guilty to defrauding investors

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - A former pastor who doubled as an investment adviser admits he defrauded dozens of victims out of more than a million dollars.

The minister made the admission in federal court Wednesday.

The victims want their money back.  But in some cases, investors lost their life savings.

Mark Stafford admitted he took their money and in some cases kept it for himself.  Stafford is scheduled to be sentenced June 13th.

He had been a pastor at a Baden church, but there does not appear to be any activity at the New Birth Power Plex Ministries on North Broadway.

Stafford entered guilty pleas to mail fraud and filing a false tax return.

The Better Business Bureau recently issued a warning after Stafford`s clients contacted them.

They tried to get their money, but couldn`t; and now some fear they`ll never see a dime, even though the guilty plea will order Stafford to pay restitution.

One retired worker lost his life savings.

The BBB has investigated several investment scams in recent years, saying consumers should do their homework before investing money.