Instead of investing the $12 million their parishioners entrusted to them, seven leaders of a Queens, N.Y. church used the money to purchase luxury cars including a Bentley, jewelry, clothing, meals and foreign trips, the Securities and Exchange Commission said today.

Between January and November 2005, the defendants raised more than $12 million from more than 80 investors in two funds by making material misrepresentations including promising returns as high as 75%. The defendants misrepresented the performance of the Logos fund, the amount of assets under management, the identity and skill of the portfolio managers, and the level of supervision of the portfolio managers. The defendants also misrepresented the registration status of the Donum fund by falsely claiming to investors that the fund was registered with the SEC, according to the complaint.

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