Thomas Kimmel, who federal prosecutors have accused of operating a Washington, North Carolina Ponzi scheme aimed at rural church goers, was sentenced in federal court this week to 264 months in prison. After serving that sentence he will serve three years of supervised release. Further, he has been ordered to pay over $16.5 million in restitution.
Kimmel’s sentencing follows his June trial, at the conclusion of which he was found guilty of conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering. According to federal prosecutors, Kimmel solicited roughly $20 million, mostly from rural church-goers, for a company named Sure Line Acceptance Corporation. Kimmel advertised the company through financial conferences that he provided for local churches. He is believed to have been teaching parishioners how to use biblical principles to climb out of debt. During the conferences, Kimmel would promote what he described as risk-free investments to church members, telling them that their investments were backed by cars and purchase agreements. The investments were not, however, risk-free as he led potential investors to believe.
Prosecutors said 326 people invested with Kimmel, many of them retirees who wound up losing their life savings. He received a 10 percent commission from Sure Line for all of the business he secured.
Kimmel’s brother-in-law has spoken out in favor of Kimmel, stating that the people accused as Kimmel’s co-conspirators were in fact the masterminds of the operation. Prosecutors, however, disagreed, stating that “Kimmel used his professed spirituality and position of trust as a tool to defraud victims at their churches – the very places they felt the most safe. From day one, Kimmel told lies to maximize his commissions.”
If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.