A federal trial was set to begin Monday for a traveling evangelist accused of defrauding church-goers of more than $700,000 over 15 years by using an oil-and-gas investment scheme.

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Ernest Cadick, 60, was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and accused of soliciting $719,150 for oil and gas ventures and foreign investments, then spending the money on himself, according to The Courier-Journal. In addition to the federal charges, Cadick faces a July 11 trial in state court on charges of swindling $29,500 from elderly victims.

Cadick’s federal public defender declined to comment and his state public defender didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Calhoun said in court documents that Cadick would quote Scripture and pray with potential victims over investments. Cadick owned and operated Bardstown-based Kingdom Oil Co. and is one of at least a six oilmen in the state to be implicated in schemes to defraud investors.

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Cadick earned $312,099 from Kingdom Oil in 1999, according to records. The business became inactive in 2001, but Cadick still collected money from investors, Calhoun said. State Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner Charles Vice said other cases involved more money, but called Cadick’s case particularly egregious because of how he earned the trust of investors.

The Rev. Bob Rodgers, pastor at Louisville’s Evangel World Prayer Center, told the newspaper that he was disappointed when he found out Cadick had solicited investors there. Some church members are retired and lost their life savings, Rodgers said.

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