(WMC TV) - He never owned the homes. By his own admission, he never secured a line of credit.
That didn't stop members of a North Memphis church from investing hundreds to thousands of dollars with Rickey Horton, principal of the now-defunct Global Investment Services, to buy foreclosed homes.
"For him to be so outrageous as to try to fleece the flock, as a pastor I would be derelict in my duty not to do something about this," said Pastor Andre Guy-Reed of Revelation Christian Center, 1561 Boxwood St.
Guy-Reed alerted The Action News 5 Investigators after his daughter Alicia Perry and congregants Reco and Antoinette Spencer invested money with Horton after Horton solicited the congregation.
Horton enticed Perry to pay $300 for classes on home ownership to prepare for an eventual down payment on a foreclosed property in Raleigh. The Spencers said they invested about $1,800 in a line of credit Horton proposed to help get them into a Cordova foreclosure within months at no interest and with no loan.
Horton told The Action News 5 Investigators he applied for the line of credit, but it fell through.
He also admitted he never owned the foreclosures, despite encouraging the Spencers to give their landlord notice and move out of their rental home.
"We were homeless for a year," said Antoinette Spencer. "We were living out of friends' homes for a year. He's promising us a house, and to this day we haven't received a house or our money."
Horton initially agreed to meet with us, but canceled on the advice of an attorney, he said.
In a phone conversation, Horton said he kept the Spencers' money and Perry's "non-refundable" class fee in order to secure financing for the line of credit, until he discovered he wasn't approved for it.
When we told him that doesn't change the fact that he still has their money, and it should be returned, he said, "You're right. It doesn't. I was not trying to get them into any type of scam."
Still, he hasn't returned their money, nor did he say he intended to repay them.
"He would make you think that you are actually helping your church by letting him come in and rob them," said Guy-Reed.
"According to him, he had all the qualifications it took to run his company," said Perry.
You should have checked those qualifications, Ms. Perry.
According to records of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, there is no real estate license for either Rickey Horton or Global Investment Services.
Records at the Tennessee Secretary of State's office indicated the state revoked Global Investment Services' corporate status in 2010 "...for failure to file (its) annual report."
Horton said he changed his company name to Community Home Services, but there is no record of corporate status under that name.
"I put all my eggs in one basket, and I lost everything," Horton confessed. "I did not set out to do anything malicious. I wanted to help people, not hurt them."
"Oh, he's good," said Guy-Reed. "He needs to be stopped. Just because we are Christians doesn't make us stupid."
For helpful tips and advice about buying and investing in foreclosures, click here.