Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 17849 / November 19, 2002
Preliminary Injunction and Asset Freeze Issued Against Abraham L. Kennard and Two Corporations in Affinity Fraud
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Network International Investment Corporation, et al., Civil Action No. 02-8294 (E.D. Pa.)
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") announced today that on November 18, 2002, the Honorable John P. Fullam, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued a preliminary injunction against Abraham L. Kennard, of Wildwood, Georgia, and defendants Network International Investment Corporation ("NIIC") and Church Kingdom Investments, Ltd. ("Church Kingdom"), two companies controlled by him. The Court's Order, which was entered with the defendants' consent, preliminarily enjoins them from future violations of the federal securities laws and continues an asset freeze implemented by the Judge in the temporary restraining order issued on November 4, 2002.
In its complaint, originally filed November 4, 2002, the Commission alleges that, from at least January 2001 through the present, NIIC and Kennard have engaged in a deliberate scheme to defraud investors, primarily African-American churches, by making false and misleading statements in connection with the unregistered offer and sale of securities, in the form of investment contracts, relating to NIIC's so-called "Church Funding Project." NIIC, acting through Kennard, has raised at least $3 million from over 1000 investing churches located throughout the United States. Specifically, for each investment of $3,000, Kennard promised to pay a return of $500,000. Kennard told investors that NIIC would fund the promised returns from a pool of money that NIIC purportedly receives for this purpose from four sources: profit-making corporations; federal government grants; other Christian institutions; and profits from a series of world-wide Christian-based resorts to be built and run by NIIC's sister corporation, Church Kingdom. In fact, NIIC does not have any commitments from profit-making corporations or other institutions to fund this project, and Church Kingdom has built no resorts.
Judge Fullam also continued asset freezes previously entered against relief defendants R. Scott Cunningham, of Dalton, Georgia, an attorney, his law firm R. Scott Cunningham, P.C., Carl Grigsby, NIIC's Director of Security Services, and Grigsby & Grigsby, LLC, a company owned or controlled by him. Judge Fullam also scheduled a final injunction hearing for March 3, 2003.