Wife Verna Michelle Hibbert 48, Pastor Marlon Gary Hibbert, 49, Secretary Clerk Lorraine Bahlmann 47

Source: CNEWS TORONTO

Three pastors face 114 charges combined for allegedly swindling their flock out of millions of dollars.

Police allege the trio — a man, his wife and another woman — convinced more than 200 members of their congregation, as well as their family and friends, to hand over $8.6 million for a phony investment scheme with promises of a huge return.

The scam cost some investors their life savings and some even lost their homes, police said.

Marlon Gary Hibbert, 49, and his wife Verna Michelle Hibbert, 48, were arrested Thursday and are each charged with 38 counts of fraud over $5,000.

Lorraine Bahlmann, 47, who worked as the couple’s administrative clerk, was arrested Friday and charged with 38 counts of fraud over $5,000 as well.All three were pastors at the Masonic Church of God when the alleged frauds occurred between 2005 and 2010.

Det. Gail Regan said members of the congregation were told Marlon Hibbert was “a successful trader in foreign currencies.”

Regan said those who invested — the minimum was $10,000 — were promised “a high rate of return” on their money. She said investors were guaranteed 5% compounded monthly, or 8.5% if they locked in for a year.

The Ontario Securities Commission received complaints in 2009.

Regan said the Hibberts were living a “luxurious lifestyle” and some of the money was funnelled to Panama.

The OSC ordered a forensic audit that determined more than 200 people were scammed out of $8.6 million and about $4 million is still unaccounted for, Regan said.

So far, police have identified 38 victims who lost a total of $2.1 million, Regan said, adding many of the investors have yet to come forward.

No money has been recovered.

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