http://www.abpnews.com/www/1997.article Prominent Baptist professor accused of fraudulently investing millions By Hannah Elliott Published April 10, 2007 COLUMBIA, S.C. (ABP) – An economics professor at a South Carolina Baptist university was charged with fraud April 5, after federal authorities discovered $134 million missing from investment funds he managed. The academic has since claimed amnesia and reportedly checked into a nearby hospital. Charleston Southern University economics professor Albert Parish and two of his investment companies face five counts of civil fraud filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The FBI has also started an investigation into Parish, who used to advise the Charleston Chamber of Commerce and write financial columns for The Post and Courier, Charleston's daily newspaper. Area residents have filed three separate civil lawsuits against Parish and his affiliates over the charges. According to a university press release, Charleston Southern trustees had invested more than $10 million with Parish Economics, one of the professor's investment firms. University officials said the loss, which totaled 15 percent of the school's $71 million in assets, would not affect personnel or student scholarships. The SEC complaint says Parish, 49, deceived investors and placed false information on the Parish Economics website. The site claimed pooled investment funds from 300 different investors had accumulated $134 million in assets. In fact, the SEC said, the "accounts represented to hold millions of dollars of assets for the funds do not hold significant funds" and that Parish wildly exaggerated the return on the investments. "Since at least January 2005, the defendants have been providing investors with quarterly statements that grossly misrepresented the investors' returns and assets," the complaint said. "The defendants have also provided investors and prospective investors with information grossly misrepresenting the amount of assets in the respective funds and misrepresenting the rates of return obtained by the respective funds." The SEC complaint said Parish started the investment funds in 1986 and grouped most of them in "informal pools of money." Investors could then use the pools to invest in commodities and securities futures products, bonds, stocks and hard assets like watches, jewelry and art. According to Post and Courier reports, Parish reported feeling dizzy during class March 29 and checked into Trident Medical Center after the SEC attempted to contact him regarding the funds. A federal judge has frozen his assets. Parish, who lives in nearby Summerville, S.C., has taught economics since 1990. He received a doctorate in mathematical economics from the University of North Carolina. He is known for his flamboyant lifestyle, which includes wearing outlandish suits and owning a $1.2 million pen collection. According to the Associated Press, he bought a $170,000, diamond-encrusted pen last fall and placed it on display along with the rest of his collection in a Charleston store. Charleston Southern has about 3,000 students and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.