A Houston man was sent to federal prison recently in a devious scheme to bilk a Mississippi woman out of her divorce settlement money. Samuel Ray Palasota used the word of God to get more than a half-million dollars from the woman, making her think they were partners in a Houston real estate company.
Palasota, 53, set up a church he called The Makers Mercy Church. He ran the so-called real estate company through a branch he called The Maker's Resources, and according to online records he also operated Sammy Palasota Ministries, all had Houston mailing addresses.
Palasota connected with the woman sometime in 2008, offering her religious counseling. A year later the woman agreed to invest her money with him after receiving religious literature and a guarantee of a 40 percent return on her principal annually, according to court records.
Given Houston's real estate market four years ago, there's no wonder she bought into it. But, as court records show, Palasota didn't invest a dime of the woman's money.
Instead he spent it on himself.More »