King County prosecutors say an 84-year-old man has been charged with defrauding Mercer Island churchgoers in a $3.5 million pyramid scheme.
The Seattle Times reports that members of the Mercer Island Covenant Church considered Stephen Klos a successful retired military man and real-estate investor. He served as an usher at the church.
In reality, the Securities and Exchange Commission barred him from financial dealings in 1992 after another Ponzi scheme came to light.
Prosecutors say that didn't stop him from taking money from about two dozen Mercer Island families and promising them big returns on their investment. The church pastor says one family lost $600,000.
Some early investors received money back, but Klos and another man, 52-year-old Robert Justice, are accused of pocketing more than $1 million.
Both are to be arraigned April 20.