On Tuesday, an Independence man became the eighth defendant in the Petro America securities scam case to plead guilty. Curtis White, 56, copped to his role in the scheme that defrauded investors of $7.2 million. The Pitch wrote in 2010 about the scam that largely succeeded by using ministers to sell their congregations worthless stock in Petro, which the preachers described as a thriving company worth $284 billion.
The reality was that Petro was a made-up worthless company that had no assets or revenue. White was a minister in Grandview, according to a press release from federal prosecutors. White got involved with Petro in 2008 and was a member of a clique of Petro-pushing ministers who wore matching white fedoras. The group was known as the "White Hat Guys." Prosecutors say White was given free shares of Petro that he sold for $100. His shares were replenished as he sold them. White earned a total of $75,300 from the fraud.
He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and an order of restitution.