Source: YouTube, Nancy Jo Frazer pictured on promotional material for "Focus Up Ministries."
(Toledo News Now) -
"My name is Nanci Jo Frazer. And I live in Ohio."
That's how Bryan, Ohio's Nanci Jo Frazer introduces herself in an online webinar. She also offers up statements of faith.
"I've asked God to guide me in his wisdom as to where I want to be."
In the webinars, Frazer claims she's been guided, through her charity Focus Up Ministries, to help people invest in an online investment group. The group's called Profitable Sunrise.
She says: "He is bringing me to the reality that my job is to help the ministry - the kingdom expand...I put my own money in and I saw it grow and I saw it explode and I said - OK - this thing is incredible."
Not incredible. But illegal - according to multiple government agencies. WTOL 11 found the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Profitable Sunrise in district court - charging the company with fraud - and freezing its assets.
The Ohio Department of Commerce filed a notice of intent to issue a cease and desist order - accusing Frazer personally of recruiting investors on multiple websites. Twenty-nine other states filed similar orders.
Read the official intent to issue a Cease and Desist order from the State of Ohio Department of Commerce[PDF]
The amount of money invested, millions of dollars. The number of investors who never got their money back - unknown.
A state document accuses Frazer and Profitable Sunrise of using "confusing statements" and "misrepresentations" that are "designed to deceive."
Here's one claim she made online: "From Monday to Friday, we are able to see ourselves grow 2.15% - and that is unheard of in the regular world."
That would mean a $10 dollar investment would bring you $7,840 dollars after one year. Frazer also claims investors can get their money back in as few as 170 business days.
WTOL investigated further- and found Frazer declared bankruptcy in 2009. In addition, we found Focus Up Ministries is not registered with the IRS as a non-profit. We went to Frazer's house to try to ask her about the complaints.
So, we showed licensed financial advisor Allen Lancz the SEC lawsuit, who told us "The numbers at all didn't make sense."
Lancz told us that "[What] scammers do is they tie in to people's emotions, whether it's trying to gain goodwill or credibility through a non-profit, or through a charity, church, religious pursuit - and in this case that's exactly what they did. They'll use the words and make it seem like they know what they're talking about, and unfortunately a lot of these entities are great salespeople. They motivate and tug on your emotions, and they're not knowledgeable at all, they can't even handle their own finances."
We spoke to the Bryan Chamber of Commerce - where her husband was a member - they didn't comment. Ultimately, Craig Thomas did speak to Frazer on the phone as we finished our investigation - and asked her to discuss the allegations.
She said she couldn't.
He also spoke to multiple investors who told us they don't want to go on camera. Some are embarrassed, others just want to put this behind them. All say - they don't think they'll get their money back.
The Ohio Department of Commerce is still investigating, and wants any victims to come forward. If you want to contact them, call 877-683-7841, or go to www.com.ohio.gov/secu
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725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203