HOUSTON (May 23, 2013)—Samuel Ray Palasota, 52, of Houston, who authorities say portrayed himself as a pastor running a religious-themed investment program, is charged with 24 counts of fraud for what federal prosecutors say was a real estate scheme that cost a Mississippi woman $650,000.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson says Palasota surrendered to authorities and was to appear before a federal magistrate in Houston.
An indictment unsealed Thursday describes Palasota as manager of a firm called "The Maker's Resources" where in 2009 he made false promises and representations about reselling foreclosed homes around Houston.
Prosecutors say he duped the unidentified Mississippi woman to invest with him proceeds from a $1 million divorce settlement but spent the money on himself.
If convicted, he could get as much as 20 years in prison on each count.