Breaking News
More () »

St. Charles Co. pastor pleads guilty to fraud charges

A St. Charles County pastor has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in federal court.

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KSDK) - A St. Charles pastor with a ministry that's known around the world pleads guilty to cheating investors out of millions of dollars.

Jim Staley is a pastor at Passion for Truth Ministries. Thursday he admitted in federal court to defrauding 16 investors out of millions of dollars.

Eleven of those victims are local, but not members of the church.

"He knew that he had made a mistake as he told the court this morning he was ashamed of his conduct and it's not representative of who he is as a man," said his attorney Scott Rosenblum.

Forty-year-old Staley is still a pastor at Passion for Truth Ministries in St. Charles. Thursday afternoon he pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud.

Court documents show he was making investments for clients that he claimed had minimal risk and would yield large profits in only two years.

What he didn't tell investors, is that he and others would take about 40 percent of the money in commission. For Staley that equaled more than $570,000.

Rosenblum says his actions have nothing to do with him being a pastor and says his client wants to pay the victims back.

"That's his goal," he says. "It's a lot, but he's going to work for it."

One church member who talked to us off camera says Staley is an awesome man and pastor and the church has been a blessing to him. He still supports his pastor. and he's not the only one.

"The courtroom was packed with his supporters and they still support him," said Rosenblum.

Sentencing is set for July.

Wire fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, and/or fines of up to a quarter of a million dollars.