Church assistant accused of selling unregistered securities

CLEVELAND (AP) - Federal regulators accused a man of selling $20 million of unregistered securities to investors, including members of his church in Elyria.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sued 48-year-old Gary McNaughton in federal court on Monday. The SEC says that he used money from investors' accounts to buy himself luxury cars, a boat and a motor home.

McNaughton is a youth assistant at the Church of the Open Door in Elyria. The SEC says he sold 150 investors notes issued under the name Haven Equity Company.

McNaughton promised clients interest rates as high as 20 percent on investments and told them that their principal was guaranteed.

McNaughton has referred questions to his lawyer, Karl May, who had not seen the allegations as of early Monday evening. But May said McNaughton believed he was involved in a legitimate investment program.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)