BRYAN, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order Tuesday against a Williams County-based charity and its principals for allegedly violating state charitable and securities laws.
The joint lawsuit with the Ohio Department of Commerce against Defining Vision Ministries, formerly known as Focus Up Ministries Inc., and the charity's principals, Nancy Jo Frazier, David Frazer and Albert Rosebrock, alleges the defendants used Focus Up Ministries' status as a charity to solicit donations and investments into an alleged international pyramid scheme. Profitable Sunrise was allegedly a scheme that claimed to be a Christian company that would use investment proceeds to help charities and give large returns to investors.
Profitable Sunrise was recently shut down by international and federal authorities.
"This case involves a worldwide pyramid scheme that defrauded Ohioans and others out of millions of dollars," DeWine said. "These individuals brought the scheme to Ohio by promising outrageous returns and telling investors that their donations and investments would help charities. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Commerce to hold the defendants accountable for their actions."
The defendants also allegedly used funds donated to Focus Up Ministries for personal expenses and unlawful purposes. The lawsuit alleges the defendants engaged in unlicensed sale of securities, securities fraud, falsification, conversion, deceptive acts and practices, misrepresentation and other violations.
The lawsuit requests that the defendants be prohibited from soliciting for or having any connection to any Ohio charity and from engaging in any securities activities that violate state law. DeWine's lawsuit also seeks restitution for investors, statutory penalties, fees, relief for charitable beneficiaries and punitive damages.
A preliminary injunction hearing will take place on July 22 in the Williams County Common Pleas Court.