MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The FBI is now investigating more claims against the self-declared “Scottish aristocrats” charged with welfare fraud – including the possibility they also defrauded members of a prominent Twin Cities church.
The FBI has interviewed members of St. Martin’s by-the-Lake Episcopal Church who say that Colin and Andrea Chisholm borrowed thousands of dollars from them, and offered worthless stock certificates as collateral.
Members of the church in Minnetonka Beach have told the FBI that the Chisholms kept putting off repayment of the money.
And the couple, who called themselves “Lord” and “Lady,” were also members of the church.
At the same time, the Chisholms were also active at the Catholic Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Colin Chisholm was even inducted in 2011 into the prestigious order of the Catholic Knights of Malta, an organization made up of prominent, and often wealthy, members of the Catholic Church.
Sources tell WCCO that the Chisholms were eventually asked to leave St. Martin’s by-the-Lake after they did not repay the money and offered what turned out to be worthless stock certificates.
Pastor David Langille declined to comment, but said he would soon be sending out a letter to his entire congregation about the Chisholms.
In November 2011, the Catholic Spirit newspaper profiled Colin Chisholm’s work as a volunteer for the Basilica of St. Mary’s job placement program. Two weeks later, the paper reported he had been inducted into the prestigious Knights of Malta at a ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
The Chisholms are currently in the Hennepin County Jail, accused of defrauding taxpayers of more than $160,000 in welfare payments while living in a 5,000-square-foot Deephaven home and owning a $1 million yacht.
The couple was caught with the help of Colin Chisholm’s ex-wife, Virginia. In an interview Wednesday, Virginia accused Colin of taking $70,000 from her 401K and owing her $90,000 in alimony.
Virginia Chisholm said Colin also charged $40,000 on their daughter’s credit card without her permission.
The FBI declined to comment and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement that his office is focused on the welfare fraud investigation.
The Basilica, the Archdiocese and the Knights of Malta did not comment, and neither did Colin Chisholm’s criminal defense attorney.