Bad Money, by Alisandra and Ammond Shadowcraft

Section 7:
Bad Money, by Alisandra and Ammond Shadowcraft

  • The Vatican bank (" Institute for Religious Works ") agreed to pay $250 million to the creditors of Banco Ambrosiano. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the " Pope's Banker," was accused of being an accessory to the fraudulent bankruptcy of the bank, which collapsed in 1982 amid mysterious deaths. In 1988, an Italian court annulled a warrant for the arrest of Marcinkus, who had been given sanctuary at the Vatican, saying Italy had no jurisdiction over Vatican affairs. (LA Times, 3/10/89)

  • Although more than $300,000 was raised since 1973 by an Episcopal Church in Paoli, Pennsylvania, to benefit impoverished Pine Ridge Sioux, the tribe has not received it. Good Samaritan Episcopal Church minister Daniel Sullivan did not ask for an accounting of the money, given to REV. FRANCIS APPLE, a Sioux Indian, to oversee. The money was meant to pay for a cattle herd, a children's home, alcoholism treatment and other aid. The only Indian family to benefit, however, appears to be Father Apple's. He is under investigation by the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota. At least 6 other Episcopal churches sent money to Apple. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/1/89)

  • A live-in maid was accused of using drugs and forgery to take more than $800,000 from a 71 year old paraplegic widow, then donating most of the loot to a North Carolina ministry. Fountain of Life insisted the donations were given by the widow freely and used for " God's work." (News & Observer, 5/2/89)

  • REV. AL SHARPTON was arraigned on charges of stealing $250,000 from National Youth Movement, a charitable group he launched as a youth in New York. Sharpton was involved in the Tawana Brawley case. (AP/Wisconsin State Journal, 6/30/89)

  • A Chicago circuit judge ordered 70 people who participated in an illegal pyramid scheme to return the $12,000 each received from the venture. South Side preacher T. L. BARRETT engineered three pyramid schemes taking in more than $3 million between May and November, 1988, allegedly to help the needy. (Chicago Sun Times, 6/27/89)

  • A Chicago pastor and his daughter were indicted by federal authorities for using his deceased niece, who had muscular dystrophy, to collect nearly $1 million in fraudulent life insurance proceeds. REV. COLUMBUS EWINGS, 57, pastor of Community Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, named himself as her beneficiary to collect money, using his daughter and others to impersonate her after she died in 1987, and concealing her medical condition. (Chicago Tribune, 6/28/89)

  • A 72 year old Indianapolis man was robbed of $2,607 at knifepoint by a bible-toting trio who invited him to a religious study group. (Sun, 7/11/89)

  • REV. JOSEPH L. DAVIS, a close friend of the mayor of East St. Louis, was convicted of operating a major cocaine ring and laundering drug profits through Mount Zion Baptist Church. Davis lived luxuriously and conducted antidrug seminars for youngsters. His congregation stood behind him. (AP/Clinton Herald, 7/22/89)

  • A civil suit by 9 members of the House of Prayer at Zebulon charge that leaders enriched themselves by requiring members to give the church their paychecks. Pastor CHARLES E. SMITH and EVANGELINE SMITH collected more than $600,000 in 2 years to buy real estate, according to the suit. (Mrs. Smith served a month in jail along with 12 other female church members for assaulting 3 of the plaintiffs because the pastor had seduced them.) (News & Observer [Raleigh, NC], 7/7/89)

  • REV. ROY GREENHILL was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for swindling an 83 year old man out of $40,000 in a scam to publish a revised version of the bible. He bilked Georgians and South Carolinians of nearly $400,000. (Atlanta Constitution, 7/21/89)

  • REV. JOSEPH OCTAVIO TYE is charged with embezzling as much as $500,000 from an Arizona church, but supporters staged letter-writing campaigns and rallies to protest the popular priest's arrest. (Arizona Daily Star, 8/9/89)

  • REV. EUGENE PROFETA was released from county jail in New York after serving part of a 6 month sentence for filing a false tax return and witness tampering. Profeta was ordered to pay $26,000 in back taxes too. Jessica Hahn had sought help from him after being raped by Jim Bakker. His congregation at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church on Long Island continues to support him. (New York Times, 7/22/89)

  • DAVID and JAMES TAGGART, PTL aides, were convicted of evading $525,000 in income taxes on money they took from PTL. (New York Times, 7/26/89)

  • Richard Dortch, former VP of the PTL Club, was sentenced to 8 years in prison and fined $200,000 for bilking followers of millions. Fraud involved " lifetime partnerships " that Jim Bakker and Dortch sold at Heritage USA. A one-time $1,000 donation supposedly entitled partners to 3 nights' free lodging each year, but partnerships were oversold and the hotels were never built or were not completed. (New York Times, 8/26/89)

  • A Missouri couple who sealed their deals with prayer were charged with bilking about 75 investors, many of them older people who handed over life savings, of $3 to $5 million. PAUL and JUDITH BROCK of Neosho were also named in a civil suit by some investors. (Kansas City Times, 8/8/89)

  • ROBERT W. CAULEY, an Avon, Ohio priest, pleaded no contest to reduced charges of stealing $40,000. He was originally accused of stealing more than $100,000 from two elderly women (claiming he would safeguard or invest their egg nests). The women said they had not come forward because they did not want to disgrace the church. (Plain Dealer, 8/22/89)

  • REV. MERTON PEKRUL, pastor of Family Bible Church, Mesa, AZ, was fined $100,000, ordered to pay $398,000 to 8 victims and sentenced to a year and a half in prison for his role in a $400,000 gold-digging scheme. He was also fined $58,000 by the Arizona Corporation Commission for various securities violations. He pleaded no contest to reduced charges of abetting an illegal enterprise, in exchange for testifying against his partner. Pekrul still has defenders, even among some of his victims. In the 1970s, Pekrul's ministry took the Evangelical Free Church in Wisconsin Rapids, WI $200,000 in debt. (Tempe Daily News Tribune, 7/15,29/89; Arizona Republic, 8/19/89)

  • Community Churches, a fundamentalist church in Glendale, CA, improperly spent $117,787 earmarked for low-income housing, then tried to sell the building for a huge profit. HUD found that funds for the 150-unit high rise had paid officers of the church and had been used to purchase 2 vans for church events. HUD reached a settlement with the church on misspent money, not specified. (AP/Miami Herald, 8/28/89)

  • An Oakland public school payroll clerk was accused of using her bible study group in a scheme to embezzle more than $24,000 from the district. MARIE LOUISE BELL was charged with grand theft for overpaying janitors, who kicked back money to her. (LA Times, 8/27/89)

  • Bank robber JAMES HATCH said he robbed a bank of $2,500 in June in order to donate it to the " Lord's Covenant Church," which teaches " that the Federal Reserve System was causing the collapse of the American economy." After Hatch had donated $7,000 in cash, he said a church member called and urged him to rob a bank. (Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 9/89)

  • Three men with ties to Olivet Nazarene University bilked friends and associates of $1 million in a phony investment scheme, charged Neil Hartigan, Illinois Attorney General. Hartigan said they " shamelessly misused the good will of the people of the church and the community." (AP/Quad-City Times, 9/29/89)

  • A jury convicted PTL leader Jimmy Bakker of all 24 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors said he diverted $3.7 million of the $158 million sent in for PTL partnerships for his own use. He received 10 years in prison.

  • The Eternal Crown Ministries run by REV. EDGAR HARTIGAN and partner CHARLES GOLLAHON was termed " the most convoluted labyrinth that I have ever seen as part of a plot to defraud people " by a banking attorney. A mansion in Dayton, Ohio housed a church, production company, broadcasting school and modeling agency, serving as a front so the men could take advantage of its tax-exempt status for their businesses. The men have several unpaid loans through a bank in West Alexandria, almost causing the bank to fold. Hartigan pleaded guilty to aiding in the misappropriation of bank funds. A civil lawsuit is in progress. (Dayton Daily News, 10/29/89)

  • PHILIP SHIRL, who operates Lincoln Ministerial Alliance, was charged with embezzling federal funds for emergency food and shelter. Shirl is accused of using $1,654.50 for personal use. (Northwest Arkansas Morning News, 10/29/89)

  • Teresa Brown, who formerly ran a notorious bordello in San Antonio, won a civil lawsuit against three Christians who recruited her to their church, then swindled her of a number of her homes. A jury awarded her $172,500. One defendant, Amos Villanueva, was found guilty of swindling another woman of her home. (San Antonio Light, 11/8/89)

  • A building contractor who filed bankruptcy in 1988 says he wants to raise $20-$30 million in public contributions to open " HeavensBank, " a national bank whose profits would aid TV ministries such as Jimmy Swaggart. Charles Hopkins, of Indiana, admits he knows nothing about banking but plans to raise $1 million a day for a month using pledge cards mailed to Indiana churches. (AP/Lafayette Journal & Courier, 11/12/89)

  • The pastor of Airport Baptist Church in Des Moines resigned after telling his congregation that he took an unspecified amount of church money. No legal action was planned against REV. DAVID CORTNER. (Clinton Herald, 11/15/89)

  • A judge called SISTER ELIZABETH MANHERTZ, 71, " despicable " for stealing $3,441 from deceased residents of a nursing home in Hamilton, Ont, Canada. The nun pocketed money she was supposed to return to relatives by forging signatures. The home she administered was found to be dirty, cockroach-ridden and inadequately staffed. (Ottawa Citizen, 11/3/89)

  • The Indianapolis Securities Commission is spending half its time and resources looking into complaints against religious groups, according to Securities Commissioner Mark E. Maddox. The state agency issued a cease-and-desist order against REV. LARRY LILLY, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Avon, Indiana, stopping sales of unregistered bonds. Church members said $1.6 million is missing and they question Rev. Lilly's lifestyle of sports cars and private planes. The televangelist left a church in Virginia $350,000 in debt. Other action was pending against Fairhaven Church of Chesterton for selling unregistered bonds and promissory notes, and against a British West Indies group selling unregistered securities to members of Amish communities in southeastern Indiana. (Indianapolis Star, 11/11/89)

  • MSGR. EUGENE F. HOTCHKISS, 68, was convicted in Oshkosh, WI of embezzling more than $46,000 from donations, collection envelopes and fees to his church over a four year period. (Milwaukee Sentinel, 11/10/89)

  • REVS. SAM JOHNSON and JOHN WESLEY FLETCHER, two of Jim Bakker, were indicted for lying to a federal grand jury about $10,000 in hush money paid to silence Jessica Hahn. (USA Today, 12/5/89)

  • The Roman Catholic Church sent the mayor of Levico Terme, Italy a bill for $22,000 for a series of special Masses celebrated since 1630, requested during the plague!

  • The US Supreme Court refused to overturn rulings forcing Louisiana-based Jimmy Swaggart Ministries to pay California $183,000 in back taxes.

    -- (719) 391-1902 (1:182/50)

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