Popular Investment Adviser Chris Temple Has Neo-Nazi Ties
In the last two years, Chris Temple became a star of the financial press, despite his neo-Nazi ties. That was the first surprise
By Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok
In early 2001, a trickle of complaints began to come in to Wisconsin state financial authorities. Several of Temple's customers, prosecutors say, told officials that Temple was refusing to repay them money they had invested in his three firms, Phoenix Financial Services, Phoenix-Millennium Partners I, and New Millennium Partners, which Temple had described as legitimate investment partnerships.
"An investigator goes to talk to him and, surprise, surprise, he lies to them," John Vaudreuil, the assistant U.S. attorney who is prosecuting Temple, told the Intelligence Report.
"He says, 'The money I get, I invest in the stock market. You know, I'm at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. I make stock trades through an account there.' When they called him on that because it didn't appear to be the case, he said, 'Oh, I moved it to Ameritrade.' After a couple of interviews, a state of Wisconsin investigator did not think things looked right ... and he brought it to the FBI."
Ultimately, investigators determined Temple had allegedly swindled $1.6 million from investors between 1998 and 2003. The investors thought they had invested in funds that, on paper, were bringing in remarkable profits — some 24.9% in the six months ending in July 2003, for instance — despite a generally poor market.
Instead of investing that money, the indictment charges, Temple used it to pay for living expenses, publishing, and buying and remodeling his home. He also allegedly used some of it to pay off earlier investors in a classic Ponzi scheme.
The Report spoke to six of Temple's alleged victims. They say Temple sent detailed statements of their supposed accounts with him, and they sounded awfully good. He was also a gifted conversationalist, often dwelling on his wife Sue, their eight children, and the youth hockey games that he especially loved.
F. Hall Machon, a disabled and partially blind former firefighter in Massachussetts, said he first heard about Temple through his Spotlight articles. He would spend hours talking to Temple, he says, about their shared love of hockey. "He wrote terrific Christmas letters and talked about his children," Machon said.
Machon says he tracked Temple's stock picks for four years while working as a firefighter. The returns were so good that Machon ultimately took $12,000 from his retirement account to invest. When he asked for it back, Machon alleges, Temple demurred. "He's smart," Machon told the Report, "but he's just a crook."
Temple pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released pending trial on March 8. He was ordered not to contact any of his alleged victims and the court is now monitoring his financial transactions and business.
Life After Indictment
One of the more remarkable things about the entire Temple affair has been his fairly dramatic ascent in the financial press during virtually the same period that he is accused of having ripped off his investors.
After years of being mentioned in newspaper articles only because of his white supremacist activities, Temple was now appearing in a totally different light — as a legitimate financial expert.
What may have been the first mention of Temple in this new role came on Nov. 26, 2001, when Forbes writer Peter Brimelow discussed Temple's thoughts about the gold market. In a Feb. 8, 2002, article, Brimelow (see Keeping America White) mentioned that over the course of 2001, The National Investor's stock picks had earned 18.4% — as compared to an 11% loss for a major competing index.
After that, the mentions came more and more often, both from Brimelow, who later moved to CBS Marketwatch, and from several other financial commentators.
It's not publicly known if Brimelow and Temple are friends or even acquaintances. But they do share at least one major connection: Sam Francis, the editor of the white supremacist Citizens Informer who co-edited the tabloid with Temple during much of 1999 and 2000.
Brimelow, who in addition to his work as a financial commentator is a dedicated anti-immigration activist, features the work of Francis and several other radical ideologues on his V-DARE Web page.
The site's name is shorthand for Virginia Dare, said to be the first English child born in America. Brimelow argues that America is historically a predominantly white nation and that Americans have a right to demand that it remain that way.
His site includes links to such groups as the racist American Renaissance hate group and even carries essays by that group's editor and chief ideologue, Jared Taylor.
Remarkably, Temple's name did not disappear from several major financial advice columns after his indictment. At press time, CBS Marketwatch had quoted Temple at least three times in the six weeks following his Sept. 17 indictment. Two of those mentions, on Sept. 22 and 26, came in columns by Brimelow.
"You would think everything about [Temple] would make your suspicions go up," says Vaudreuil, who is chief of his office's criminal division. "But they didn't. Not only to the investors, but to a lot of very legitimate publications, too."