Flash flood watch for most of SE Wisconsin from Friday evening through 7 a.m. Saturday

“What happened to all of that money?!” Man loses more than $260,000 in investment scheme

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A trusted church deacon convinces a parishioner to invest thousands of dollars -- but this investment didn't lead to the promised returns. It's an example of why you shouldn't blindly trust people with your money.

"That`s what nobody knows. What happened to all of that money?" JP Whitehead said.

It's a question Whitehead asks himself often, when he tries to figure out how he lost more than $260,000 in an investment scheme.

"He was an elder, a deacon, teacher and even a preacher," Whitehead said.

He is William Spencer, an investment advisor who was also a member of Whitehead's church.

"I thought it was a blessing to have someone like that to handle what little money I had to do something with it," Whitehead said.

Spencer promised generous returns of 10 to 12 percent, and characterized each investment as a personal loan -- even writing letters to investors similar to an I-O-U -- but the notes were worthless.

"These victims were easy prey and Mr. Spencer could get what he wanted," U.S. Postal Inspector Larry Dodson said.

"He didn`t force me to do any of that stuff. I did it on my own, but I did it because of the trust I had in him," Whitehead said.

Postal inspectors say Whitehead's Ponzi scheme unraveled and 100 people lost more than $2 million.

It's prompted a warning from authorities: Never blindly trust anyone managing your money.

"When you`re going to invest, you need to trust and verify," Dodson said.

In the end, in this case, all of the money was gone.

"I can`t stick my head in the sand. I have to go on and try to overcome it the best I could," Whitehead said.

Spencer pleaded guilty to multiple charges of mail and wire fraud and is currently serving seven years in federal prison.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.