Monday, February 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Pastor Gets 5 Years for|Jewelry Investment Scam

(CN) - A pastor who hosted a religious program on cable TV was sentenced on Wednesday to 57 months in prison for bilking investors out of $3 million.

Samuel Solanky, the host of the New York-based cable show, "Vandana," pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in White Plains last year, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Solanky admitted that he stole from religious groups and conned investors out of money for a nonexistent jewelry acquisition.

Rather than using the investments and stolen funds to buy gemstones in India, Solanky kept the money for himself.

"Solanky promised victims that they would receive 100 percent returns on their investments within a matter of months, and provided many of the victims, often via mail, with written investment agreements that reflected the promised rate of return," according to Solanky's indictment.

In addition to nearly five years in prison, District Judge Loretta Preska ordered Solanky to forfeit $3 million and pay his victims an additional $3 million in restitution.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.