It’s sad to report that on Wednesday a judge sentenced 30-year-old Michael Winans Jr. to nearly 14 years in prison for an $8 million financial scam that was promoted in church pulpits.
Michael Winans Jr. is the son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans, one of gospel music’s first families.
As a result of this scheme to sell Saudi Arabian oil bonds, victims testified in federal court that some people were robbed of their life savings, fractured many families as well as caused divorces.
Michael Winans Jr. said, “I want to apologize to everyone. … These were decisions that were negligent and irresponsible.” He also said that even though he continued to collect money after he learned that the bonds were bogus, he had no “malicious intent”.
In 2007 and 2008, Winans attracted more than 1,000 investors that he didn’t know because many were recruited by others through word of mouth. He promised 100 percent returns in two months and then used the money for personal expenses or to pay off earlier investors. $4.7 million is still owed to about 600 people.
Please keep the Winans family in your prayers because I’m sure this a very big blow to this gospel music family.