Businessman pleads guilty to nationwide scam

A Marietta businessman pleaded guilty Monday to a scam in which he used a religious-based pitch to lure victims to invest in a bogus get-rich-quick scheme.

Jeffrey W. McLain, 52, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. McLain, who is to be sentenced Oct. 6, advertised that his clients could become millionaires in one year or less through a system involving Medicaid beneficiaries.

McLain invited prospective clients to learn his “guaranteed” money-making system at conferences at major hotels and convention centers nationwide. The conferences were typically advertised on Christian radio stations, and McLain often laced his motivational speeches with religious overtones. Over the course of his scheme, McLain defrauded 15 victims out of about $200,000, prosecutors said.

“He told victims his so-called system would make them rich, and that it was not only legitimate but had a tone of religious approval,” U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said in a statement. “This defendant’s only true mission was making money by ripping off his customers.”