Calling it a “multilevel Ponzi hydra” that promised sky-high returns in the crude oil bond market, the Michigan Office of Finance and Insurance Regulation said it has stopped a Ponzi scheme that allegedly bilked credit union members and others out of $5 million.

In December 2007, Mark Carpenter, a securities agent licensed with broker-dealer CUSO Financial Services LP who worked at MidWest Financial Credit Union, allegedly became directly involved in a multi-level crude oil bond Ponzi scheme operated by Michael Winans, Jr., an OFIR investigation revealed. Winans is the son of one of the members of the renowned gospel group, the Winans. In January 2008, Carpenter created the firm To God Be Glory for the sole purpose of accepting funds to invest in the Winans Ponzi scheme, the OFIR said. According to the agency, Carpenter was employed with CFS from June 2007 through October 2008. His principal place of business was at MFCU in Ann Arbor, Mich., where CFS maintained a securities branch office inside the $176 million cooperative.

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