Former AME Zion Church Leaders Charged with $14 Million Fraud

Charged with defrauding California congregations by mortgaging their properties, Staccato Powell of Wake Forest, NC, and Sheila Quintana of Vallejo, CA obtained $14 million in loans that were used for personal expenses. The pair were named in a federal indictment of conspiracy and wire fraud. Powell was also charged with mail fraud. The indictment said the two set up Western Episcopal District, Inc. and used the entity to illegally obtain grant deeds to properties owed by congregations in various California cities. The congregations had little or no mortgages debt until Powell and Quintana used their real estate as collateral in order to obtain high-interest loans. Western Episcopal District, Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 and listed among its assets 11 churches in California, Arizona and Colorado, authorities said.

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