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Florida jury finds ex-pastor guilty in fraud scheme

Minister tried to dupe friends out of nearly $400,000, jury finds

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BUNNELL, Fla. – Jurors found a former central Florida pastor guilty of participating in a scheme to dupe friends and church members out of nearly $400,000.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that it took the jury about 90 minutes Thursday to find 54-year-old Wesley Brown guilty of 19 of the 31 charges against him. Brown's bond was revoked and he was taken into custody to await sentencing.

Prosecutors characterized Brown's tactics as a Ponzi scheme, saying that it was part of a nationwide network that included victims from Florida to New York. Brown, a volunteer pastor at Calvary Chapel in Flagler Beach, told six people that he was investing their money. Instead, prosecutors said he paid credit card bills and shopped.

The scam netted some $395,000 from December 2010 to June 2012.