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Missouri pastor pleads guilty in investment fraud case

Mark Stafford. (Image courtesy Better Business Bureau)

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A suburban St. Louis pastor faces June sentencing now that he’s admitted in federal court that he defrauded and filed a false tax return in connection with a million-dollar investment fraud scheme.

Fifty-two-year-old Mark Q. Stafford of O’Fallon Missouri pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Louis.

Prosecutors say the minister at New Birth Powerplex Ministries in St. Louis admitted he falsely represented to clients of his Stafford Financial Firm that their funds invested with Quest Financial Holdings or Gain Capital Group.

But authorities say Stafford instead deposited some of the funds into his own accounts and used them for personal benefit, costing victims $1.08 million.