A California couple has been arrested and charged with operating a $3 million Ponzi scheme through their company, God's Sports Company ("GSC"), which offered a prototype baseball bat that offered "leading performance and durability." Steven McKinlay, 58, and his wife, Kristi McKinlay, 56, were charged by California authorities with twelve felonies, including ten counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security, one count of grand theft, and one count for the use of a device in a scheme to defraud. If convicted, the couple faces up to nearly 24 years in prison. Each is currently being held on $3 million bail.
According to authorities, GSC solicited investors for a prototype baseball bat it described as a "one piece [composite] bat that offers leading performance and durability." The company's (now unavailable) website, which included a tagline of "made with integrity for players with integrity," touted Steve McKinlay's "consistent power hitting" and his reputation in the "competitive softball world" and also referenced Kristi McKinlay's financial background. Authorities allege that the couple ultimately raised more than $3 million from investors which included a former Major League Baseball player and a cancer patient.
However, authorities allege that potential investors were not advised of Steve McKinlay's prior bankruptcy filings nor that their funds would be used to make Ponzi-like payments to existing investors. Additionally, the pair is accused of misappropriating investor funds to donate at least $50,000 to their church as well as support a lavish lifestyle that included monthly $10,000 rental payments, payment of their daughter's wedding expenses, and even a luxury suite at the Los Angeles Angels stadium.