Church Responds to Allegations of Ponzi Scheme Run by Uxbridge Man

By Mark Sullivan
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
June 3, 2015

A church whose members allegedly were targeted in a $3.5 million Ponzi scheme run by a former elder of the congregation says it is encouraging members who "may have fallen victim" to assist in the investigation.

Charles L. Erickson, former director of MetroWest Ministries in Ashland, is alleged to have bilked investors of millions in a pyramid investment scheme he claimed was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

A complaint filed by the securities division of the Massachusetts secretary of state's office charges Mr. Erickson defrauded at least 25 investors, about a third of them recruited from his Ashland congregation.

The Connect Community Church in Ashland released the following statement:

"Five months ago, one of the members of the church, Charles Erickson, resigned his membership in the church acknowledging that he had deceived several members in a commodities investment scheme.

"The Board of Elders has removed Mr. Erickson from his position as an elder as the result of his actions.

"The church has alerted those members who may have fallen victim and encouraged them to be open to authorities investigating claims and charges against Mr. Erickson.

"Our mission is to lift up Christ and be a beacon of light for Him. We pray for anyone who has been harmed by these actions."

Connect Community Church, an interdenominational congregation, describes itself as a "vibrant Christian ministry" founded three decades ago by Pastor Ernie Frye, who was succeeded by his son, current senior Pastor Deryck Frye. Connect Community Church is joined by MetroWest Christian Academy and a daycare center under the aegis of MetroWest Ministries in Ashland.

The administrative complaint against Mr. Erickson said he believed the Holy Spirit had given him a proprietary system for day trading a particularly volatile type of futures contract. Mr. Erickson began collecting money from investors in 2010, the complaint said, promising guaranteed returns of 4 percent a month, or 96 percent over two years.

He lured investors with spreadsheets of profitable trading results with his system, it said. “In reality, however, Erickson’s spreadsheets were nothing more than promotional tools, showing only hypothetical profits and losses,” the complaint states. “Erickson never disclosed actual profits or losses to his investors.”

In 2013, Mr. Erickson stopped using his system, the complaint said. “Erickson’s investment scheme was a Ponzi scheme, which ultimately collapsed in 2014,” it said. “Erickson admitted to the enforcement section that in the months when his system was not profitable, he paid monthly returns to investors using capital reserves deposited by later investors.”

Mr. Erickson, who has not yet retained a lawyer in the matter, has 30 days to answer the complaint, according to a spokesman for the secretary of state. Mr. Erickson was formerly licensed in the securities industry as a registered representative of The Paul Revere Life Insurance Co.








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