A St. Louis-area pastor who admits bilking $3.3 million from at least 18 mostly elderly investors has been ordered to spend seven years in federal prison.
Forty-year-old Jim Staley of Wentzville apologized to victims in the courtroom's standing-room-only gallery during his sentencing hearing Wednesday in St. Louis. He pleaded guilty in April to four felony wire fraud counts.
Prosecutors say Staley was an insurance agent before forming a financial consultancy and turning to sales for California-based B&B Equity Group.
Though he wasn't a registered in Missouri to deal securities, he sold investments even after the Missouri secretary of state's office told him to stop in 2009.
Staley's attorney insists the fraud was unrelated to his clergy work. A prosecutor says some victims invested because he was a "nice religious man."