Pastor Nathaniel A. McNeil has been sentenced to 68 months in prison for defrauding insurance companies and trusting individuals.

Nathaniel A. McNeil, a pastor in Pensacola, Florida, has been sentenced to 68 months in prison, followed by a three year term of supervised release, for engaging in a life insurance scheme with at least 1,249 victims. Pastor McNeil also was ordered to pay $32,835 in restitution to identified victims.

According to court documents, Pastor McNeil was the founder and president of Life Transformation Ministries International (“LTMI”), which purported to be a non-profit, religious organization. Prosecutors said that from 2009 through August 2011, Pastor McNeil, with the help of his co-conspirator Trudi Batiste, promised LTMI members a universal life insurance policy in exchange for a one-time fee of approximately $25.

To further his scheme, Pastor McNeil also attempted to defraud several insurance companies by misrepresenting in insurance applications the net worth of his ministry and that applicants were actually his employees, prosecutors added. Ultimately, according to the government, Pastor McNeil and Ms. Batiste obtained nearly $240,000 from at least 1,249 victims across the country. According to the government, none of the individuals that paid the fee ultimately obtained a life insurance policy; instead, Pastor McNeil and Ms. Batiste used the money for their own personal purposes.

Pastor McNeil pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud on June 12, 2014.

Ms. Batiste pleaded guilty to mail fraud on May 8, 2014 and is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson on September 30, 2014.