Trevor Cook coverage on CNN focuses on religious dupes

Trevor Cook pleaded guilty in a $190 million Ponzi scheme
Trevor Cook pleaded guilty in a $190 million Ponzi scheme

Read enough headlines about Ponzi schemers and the inevitable question begins to percolate: Who believes these hucksters, anyway? CNN recently came to town asking that question of Trevor Cook and Pat Kiley's victims. Part of the answer in its "Breaking Faith" story: The hucksters turned people of faith into dupes.

Religious folks weren't the only people among the scheme's estimated 1,000 victims. But chaplain Mike Patterson told CNN he lost $450,000 to Cook and Kiley, and his faith made him and others an easy target in the $190 million Ponzi scheme.

We've told you about Cook and Kiley before.

Cook ran a bogus foreign currency trading scheme. Kiley hosts a weekly Christian radio program called "Follow the Money" and calls his listeners "truth seekers." He promoted the scheme run by Cook.

"[They] went after a targeted group of people. Almost everybody who was caught up in this, almost everybody I talked to was the same," Patterson said. "Their faith in the lord is what they're all about."

Cook and Kiley told investors that their money would be invested safely and profitably, said Merri Jo Gillette, Director of the SEC's Chicago Regional Office. Instead, they went on a $40 million-plus spending spree with investors' money and lost another $40 million in risky foreign currency trading.

Cook pleaded guilty in April. His partner Kiley has adopted the mantle of victimhood: He's suing local newspapers that reported on the pair's downfall.

CNN interviews Mike Patterson and U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones in this clip. There's video of Cook making his pitch here, victim Mary Dingman talking about losing everything, and former colleague Kyle Garmin believing the scam was legit before losing $4 million. There's also audio of a typical Kiley broadcast.

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