Brazilian Church Accused of Money Laundering $1 Billion

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, founded by controversial pastor Edir Macedo, has been accused of money laundering again. The accusations come from Rio de Janeiro’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and Brazil’s Financial Activities Control Board.

According to Brazilian news site Poder360, in one fiscal year, May 2018 to April 2019, at least 5.9 billion reals–approximately $1.093 billion in US dollars–moved through church bank accounts in a questionable manner.

So far, Edir Macedo has not been accused of participating in the new money laundering allegations. Instead, his nephew Mauro Macedo and Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella, a bishop in the Universal Church, are allegedly linked to the financial crimes.

Universal Church officials deny the allegations which they claim are politically motivated attacks.

In 2008, Edir Macedo was arrested but not convicted of embezzling $2 billion. After Edir Macedo’s arrest, the Associated Press reported, “The church allegedly used fake companies to launder the money, moving the assets abroad and then returning them in the form of loans used by Macedo and his accomplices to buy businesses, prosecutors said.”

Taxing Jerry Falwell’s Golden Parachute Payments (severance over $10M)

 


After analyzing Jerry Falwell Jr’s Liberty University compensation, Trinity Foundation estimates tax penalties of $1,530,383 on golden parachute payments of $10.5 million.

Excessive compensation is a scandalously common practice in many religious institutions that needs to be carefully researched and exposed. Continue reading “Taxing Jerry Falwell’s Golden Parachute Payments (severance over $10M)”

Televangelist Morris Cerullo Dead at 88

After preaching for 70 years, faith healer and televangelist Morris Cerullo has died at 88 years of age from pneumonia.

In the months before he died, Cerullo’s final project, a theme park and hotel, opened to the public. The Legacy International Center cost $190 million and featured a small replica of the Temple’s wailing wall, catacombs with large murals of Bible stories, and water fountains.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Cerullo spared no expense on the $14.5 million, 100-seat theater located in the project’s Welcome Center that will house most of the Legacy Center’s attractions, many of which were conceived with the help of cutting-edge technology.” Continue reading “Televangelist Morris Cerullo Dead at 88”

Warning Signs When Reviewing Church or Ministry Financial Statements

 

Before donating to a particular organization, stop and consider a few warning signs first.

Trinity Foundation has spent several decades examining financial statements of religious organizations. There are common warning signs that show up on these documents that donors should be aware of. Sometimes accounting errors occur, but other times, warning signs may indicate fraud or deeper financial problems. If questions arise when reviewing a church financial statement or ministry Form 990, politely ask the organization’s leadership to address your concerns. Continue reading “Warning Signs When Reviewing Church or Ministry Financial Statements”

When the Church Parsonage Looks Like a Mansion

Televangelist Kenneth Copeland lives northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, near the shore of Eagle Mountain Lake in a “church parsonage” that can easily be described as a mansion or palace. The extravagant home fits Copeland’s theology as he teaches his church and TV audiences “to live like a king.”

Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC) owns the 18,279 square-foot home currently appraised for $10,825,462. A road connects the home to the Kenneth Copeland Airport. Continue reading “When the Church Parsonage Looks Like a Mansion”

Jim Bakker Recovers From Stroke, His Comeback Dreams on Hold

               

Jim Bakker in his heyday (1980’s)              Jim Bakker on the Jim Bakker Show (from YouTube)

Televangelist Jim Bakker, a long-time target of investigations at Trinity Foundation, is recovering from a stroke. On May 8th, Bakker’s wife Lori posted the news on The Jim Bakker Show website:

“I wanted to share with you, our loving and caring partners, that Jim recently experienced a stroke. We are thankful that Jim is okay, and that he is now at home with our family. Under the guidance of medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Jim will be taking a sabbatical from the show. Jim will be back! He is still dreaming and hearing from the Lord, and he already has a powerful word to deliver when he returns to the air.” Continue reading “Jim Bakker Recovers From Stroke, His Comeback Dreams on Hold”

Coontz Tax Evasion Conviction Upheld, FINALLY

 

Televangelist Todd Coontz Loses Appeal in Tax Evasion Case

Televangelist Todd Coontz, a prosperity preacher and protégé of Mike Murdock, is one step closer to beginning a five-year prison sentence.

After a year of waiting for a new verdict, on Friday, April 17th a panel of judges upheld Coontz’s conviction for tax evasion.

According to WSOC-TV, “Coontz has to wait for the Board of Prisons to tell him when to report to prison.”

Coontz is required to pay $755,669 in restitution. Coontz has less than 90 days to file an appeal with the United States Supreme Court. However, such an appeal doesn’t stand a chance at being accepted.

During the appeal process Coontz continued fundraising while maintaining his residence in a luxury high-rise.

Trinity Foundation has requested the IRS revoke the tax-exempt status of Coontz’s organization RockWealth International Ministries. 

Coronavirus + Televangelists = Deadly Mix

Last year an informant visited Trinity Foundation and told us stories about the apparent contradictions of a prominent televangelist. While promoting himself as a faith healer, the televangelist is secretly a germaphobe. He limited contact with his employees while preaching that we shouldn’t have fear.

In contrast, Italian Catholic priest Giuseppe Berardelli recently died from the coronavirus after voluntarily giving his respirator to a younger person struggling with same virus. Berardelli’s sacrificial life decision is a bold picture of John 15:13, which says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

As the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has grown, televangelists and so-called prophets have exploited the tragic health situation with false prophecies and fundraising appeals. The Apostle Paul urges believers to test prophecies in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21. Let’s take a look at some of them. Continue reading “Coronavirus + Televangelists = Deadly Mix”

Seven Year Court Battle with TBN Comes to an End

In 2012, Carra Crouch, the granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) founders Paul and Jan Crouch, sued the network for covering up her rape. When she was 13 years old, Carra was raped by a TBN employee. Her grandmother decided not to file criminal charges.

Recently, TBN decided not to file an appeal with the United States Supreme Court, bringing the litigation to an end (finally!!).  Carra’s victory in the California Courts of Appeal will stand. Since 2012 TBN has spent millions of dollars on litigation. The network sued Carra’s sister Brittany more than 20 times.

The Big Failure at This Week’s NRB Convention

TV producers, radio broadcasters, filmmakers, and journalists are flocking to the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Nashville for the biggest annual networking event showcasing Christian media professionals.

Attendees can choose from a plethora of workshops and speakers addressing topics ranging from first amendment issues to religious persecution and from marketing to production. Unfortunately, they will NOT hear about two topics the NRB should address:

  • A growing number of broadcast ministries are rejecting financial transparency. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Grace to You and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries have stopped filing the Form 990 which discloses the pay of its top executives and provides a breakdown of other expenses.
  • There are an astonishing number of wolves in religious broadcasting, preachers taking advantage of their congregations and viewers for financial gain.

Continue reading “The Big Failure at This Week’s NRB Convention”