Who is Abraham Kennard?

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Who is Abraham Kennard? I'm glad you asked. The following information was obtained from the Securities & Exchange Commission (Commission) for the expressed purpose of alerting churches, primarily black denominations, about investor fraud. As Jesus correctly observed, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear".

The Commission filed an emergency civil action last month in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia alleging an ongoing nationwide affinity fraud primarily targeting African-American churches. Judge John P. Fullam granted the Commission's request for emergency relief, including a temporary restraining order and asset freezes against the defendants and relief defendants, and scheduled a Nov. 18 hearing on the Commission's motion for a preliminary injunction. I don't know the outcome of the 11/18 hearing. The SEC complaint named Abraham L. Kennard, of Wildwood, Ga., and two companies controlled by Kennard, Network International Investment Corporation (NIIC) and Church Kingdom Investments Ltd., as defendants. The complaint also named attorney R. Scott Cunningham, of Dalton, Ga.; his law firm R. Scott Cunningham P.C.; Carl Grigsby, NIIC's Director of Security Services, and Grigsby & Grigsby LLC, as relief defendants. "This fraud was designed to exploit the religious faith and ethnic pride of African Americans throughout the country," said Merri Jo Gillette district trial counsel in the SEC's Philadelphia District Office. "Abraham Kennard played upon the trust of his victims in order to induce them to participate in his so-called investment program. He took their money, promising huge financial returns to the churches when, in fact he knew that he would be unable to pay as promised." The Commission's complaint alleges that, from at least January 2001 through the present, NIIC and Kennard have engaged in a deliberate scheme to defraud investors by making false and misleading statements in connection with the unregistered offer and sale of investment contracts related to NIIC's so-called "Church Funding Project." The complaint also alleges that NIIC and Kennard fraudulently raised at least $3 million from more than 1,000 churches nationwide, and that Kennard used Church Kingdom as a vehicle to conduct his fraudulent activities. The complaint further alleges that, through various promotional means-including NIIC's Web site, Kennard's presentations at group meetings and religious conferences, telephone solicitations, mailings and a commissioned sales force-Kennard solicits churches to become members of NIIC by falsely promising huge financial returns. According to the complaint, for each investment of $3,000, Kennard promises to pay a return of $500,000. The complaint alleges that Kennard tells investors that NIIC will fund the promised returns from a pool of money that NIIC receives for this purpose from four sources: profit-making corporations; federal government grants; other Christian institutions; and profits from a series of world-wide Christian-based resorts to be built and run by NIIC's sister corporation, Church Kingdom. However, the complaint alleges that NIIC does not have any commitments from profit-making corporations or other institutions to fund this project, and Church Kingdom has built no resorts. As a result of this offering, NIIC has outstanding commitments to investors of at least $500 million. The complaint also alleges that Kennard deposited investor funds into the escrow account of R. Scott Cunningham. According to Cunningham, the escrow account contained as much as $2 million of investor funds earlier this year but only $160,000 of those funds remain in the account. In addition, some funds raised by Kennard were wired directly from an investor to Grigsby & Grigsby LLC. The complaint charges the defendants with violations of antifraud provisions and registration requirements of the federal securities laws and seeks the return of the defendants ill-gotten gains for distribution among defrauded investors.

The SEC is to be commended for exposing this investor scam and pursuing rigorous prosecutorial actions. I am fully aware of the stress imposed on churches to pursue creative financing strategies for building fund activities. Caution however should always be exercised when being approaced by the appearance of financial charlatans. If you doubt the integrity of exaggerated above market returns for investment instruments, your instincts are probably correct and you should reject the tempting offer. If you still have questions contact the Investor Hotline at the SEC. In this age of "tight money" black churches can least afford to be duped by such Ponzi-schemes. QED

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2002


Next time ask me!

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2003

Dear Mr. Parrish I noticed in your email address sec are you with the security exchange? In your post you said "Next time ask me!" what did you mean by that and if you are with the security exchange do you have any other scams or schemes we should be made aware of? I look forward to hearing from you.

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2003

Brother Parish IS SEC connected. He is quoted in a couple of the articles on this. From a Philly paper: The SEC would not identify the churches affected.

"SEC attorney Lawrence Parrish said that the total lost by Philadelphia-area churches was not known, but that some pastors here are known to have kicked in $18,000 to qualify for Kennard's maximum payout of $3 million.

The SEC has set up a hotline for churches - 215-597-3486 - which Parrish said has been inundated with calls."

A quick search on Google.com finds quite a few stories, many from the same news service but a few more examples of the deeds of this guy.

-- Anonymous, January 14, 2003

Bro. Parrish was in a position to share information, but choose to keep it to himself. In contrast, Pro. Bill openly shared information. Without his help, I would not have KNOWN to ask the question.

I pray that Bro. Parrish keeps this board informed of acts that could cause harm...especially given his position of knowing.


-- Anonymous, January 14, 2003

I cannot speak for Mr. Parrish but now that we know he works with the security exchange as a lawyer I can only imagine the incredible amount of work that he has to deal with. Also how do we know that an alert was not put out about this scam artist and we on the board missed it. I am grateful that Mr. Parrish took the time to read Bill's post and to respond. He did say "next time ask me" it sounds like the A.M.E church has a friend in Mr. Parrish. Thank God he is working on the matter now and hopefully some monies will be retrieved.

One last thought. Bro. Bob posed a question about churches accepting money from lotteries and the question of gambling came up in the posts. It is clear what our denomination says about gambling what then should be the position of our churches in terms of investing in the stock market?

-- Anonymous, January 14, 2003

Can you tell me what is the current update on Network and Kennard. Has it just faded by the wayside. What is the current status. Thank you.

-- Anonymous, September 03, 2003

I am well aware of Mr. Kennard's fundraising activities. I volunteered some time and worked with him and his brother in Chatt. Tn. As a matter of fact his brother and I have a 9 yr. old daughter that he hasn't seen since she was 2mths.old. Mr. Abraham Kennard had good intentions in the beginning but it was evident back in the mid 90's when I met him that he was becoming greedy. He deserves what he gets and I'm sure his brother was involved and I hope he's being prosecuted also, he's never paid child support or shown any interest in his child.

-- Anonymous, October 08, 2003

This comment is to the last person we do not have a child together you where messing with more than one person. When i ask for a blood test you did not want to so why will i take care of some one else child. Why bringing up a child have to do with whats going on I was not involed and I was unware of what was going on so im innocent.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Mr. Kennard has also taken money from non-profit organizations. When and how will those monies be returned?

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2003

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