Teresa Hodge and Marcus D. Dukes of Prince Georges County, Maryland, have been touring the nation selling memberships for as much as $2,250 in their Financial Warfare Club (FWC) to "create wealth" among African-American Christians.

Now they face a legal battle, as Maryland's attorney general issued a cease and desist order on March 9.

FWC, based in a suburb of Washington, D.C., describes itself as "a financial literacy education company focusing on the African-American Christian community." Its stated goal is to "empower this community to become more actively involved in the wealth creation of the capital markets."

In a February Webcast, Dukes asserted that "as the African-American church, we create over $4 trillion of wealth [on] Wall Street. Financial warfare is a way to get this wealth back into the community." Individuals were drawn into the club expecting to make huge returns on their investments after FWC startup corporations sold common shares in the financial markets.

The background of the two promoters is sketchy. Dukes, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, claims to have been in business during the 1990s. Hodge describes herself as "assisting the church community with strategic partnering" and "marketing Financial Warfare Club to the church community exclusively, traveling the country professing the good news of Jesus Christ."

The club has an office in Camp Springs, Maryland, which it shares with the Victorious Church of Jesus Christ. Financial Warfare also runs an elaborate Web site, FinancialWarfare.com.

Moving Quickly

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. charges that Dukes and Hodge were selling unregistered securities and acting as unregistered securities brokers, which are violations of state law.

"We had ...

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