Missouri pastor asks to retract guilty plea in fraud case

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A Missouri pastor sentenced to seven years in federal prison after admitting he bilked $3.3 million from at least 18 mostly elderly investors wants to rescind his guilty plea.

Now imprisoned in southern Illinois, Jim Staley has filed a four-page motion he authored challenging the constitutionality of federal laws under which he was prosecuted.

Staley is asking for a November trial and have U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch compelled to testify about the veracity of the laws applied to his case.

Staley was unregistered in Missouri to sell securities but earned more than $570,000 in commissions while selling investment products he often claimed carried minimal risk and yilded large, guaranteed returns. Yet in many cases, investors’ life savings were wiped out.