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Couple Charged with $5 Million Fraud Appealing to Christian Investors

Plus: Combating anti-Semitism in Europe, sharia law in Canada

Armand DeAngelis and his wife Marcela Ospina Cardona from Miami, Florida, were charged this week for allegedly conning up to $5 million from Christians by selling gold coins for two or three times their worth.

The couple apparently owned a company that sold gold coins, calling itself ''the leading Christian gold dealer." The company claimed its coins would double or triple their value in a matter of months, based on the judgment of another company the couple owned.

According to the Miami Herald, "'From in or around March 2000 through in or around June 2003, the defendants raised over $5 million through the sale of supposedly rare gold coins worldwide."

The couple took out ads in Christian magazines including World, The American Prospect, Christianity Today, Pulpit Helps, and Christian Parenting Today. Respondents to the ads were told "of an alleged impending financial crisis facing the economy while touting the purported benefits of investing in gold," the Herald said.

The couple raised more than $5 million between March 2000 and June 2003. They live in a $3.5 million home. DeAngelis is scheduled for an unrelated hearing for the violation of probation following a 1991 securities-law conviction in New Jersey, according to the Miami Herald.

One customer bought a set of four coins for $3,560, when the coins were actually worth $37.50. The defense attorney told the Herald that the value of investment coins is subjective.

An attorney for one of the plaintiffs in the case told the Associated Press that DeAngelis "has done awful, awful things to people from all over the country. He pretends to be a born-again Christian."

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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