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By Eric Heinz 

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, a businessman and his wife, who has a certified public accountant license, were arraigned on Dec. 23 on charges of defrauding investors and stealing more than $3 million in an affinity scheme.

Steven Andrew McKinlay, 58, and Kristi B. McKinlay, who is CPA licensed as Kristi Kindred, 56, both of Coto de Caza, are charged with 10 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count for the use of a device in a scheme to defraud, with sentencing enhancement allegations for loss over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and causing property damage with loss over $1.3 million according to the DA press release.

Kristi McKinlay

The McKinlays are accused of victimizing more than 10 individuals, including a former Major League Baseball player, a family friend who came into money through a personal injury and a cancer patient who wanted to secure an inheritance for his family. Many of the victims had been associated with the defendants through the church they attended, the release stated.

If convicted, they both face a maximum sentence of 23 years and eight months in state prison. The McKinlays are in custody on $3 million bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Steven and Kristi McKinlay were owners of God’s Sports Company.

Steven and Kristi McKinlay are accused of defrauding their clients between Sept. 12, 2011, and June 27, 2015, by convincing them to invest in GSC without disclosing material facts, including prior bankruptcy filings by Steven McKinlay and outstanding liens against the defendants, using investor funds to pay back some of the other investors in a Ponzi scheme, and using investor money for personal use. The two are accused of spending investors’ money on $10,000 a month rent for a San Clemente home and $7,000 a month rent for a Coto de Caza home, paying for their daughter’s wedding, purchasing a luxury suite at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Stadium, purchasing cars, and paying off old debts and day-to-day expenses. They are accused of using investors’ money to donate $50,000 to their church, Foothill Family Church in Foothill Ranch. The defendants are also accused of putting their relatives and their friends’ relatives on GSC payroll.

Sources close to Kristi in San Clemente said she is well-known in the community.

Despite the charges, there has been an outpouring of letters attesting to Kristi’s integrity. Her ex-husband, Don Kindred, told San Clemente Times he believes Kristi is a victim in the case.

“The biggest thing that I would bring up is the respect that she had in the community,” Kindred said. “She was a leader in the Rotary Club and raised a lot of money.”

Kindred has received letters of support from former mayor Jim Evert, vouching for her ethics as Kristi had been awarded a business ethics award for the San Clemente Rotary district. Former City Planning Commissioner Nesa Anderson asked for leniency in her bail amount.

Kristi and Steven’s next hearings are Jan. 10 in the Central Courthouse of Orange County Superior Court.

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