May 18, 2019
An American pastor from New Jersey backed by a British former clairvoyant is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans a “miracle cure” made from industrial bleach, claiming drinking the toxic fluid eradicates cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and most other diseases.
The network, led by pastor Robert Baldwin and part-funded by Sam Little from Arlesey in Bedfordshire, is one of the most extensive efforts yet to distribute the “miracle cure” known as MMS, or “miracle mineral solution”. The Guardian has learned that poor Ugandans, including infants as young as 14 months old, are being given chlorine dioxide, a product that has no known health benefit and can be extremely dangerous.
Baldwin, 52, is importing bulk shipments of the components of MMS, sodium chlorite and citric acid, into Uganda from China. The two chemicals are mixed to produce chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach used in the textile industry.
The American pastor has “trained” about 1,200 clerics in Uganda on administering the “miracle cure” and each in turn uses it to treat about 50 congregants, usually after Sunday service. As an inducement, Baldwin is offering smartphones to those clerics who are especially “committed” to spreading the bleach cure.
Baldwin operates under a ministry he founded called Global Healing. The “church” advertises itself as “using the power of Almighty God … to greatly reduce the loss of life” in Africa.
Yet in a phone conversation with Fiona O’Leary, a campaigner against quack medicine who spoke to him while posing as a freelance journalist, Baldwin said he distributed the bleach through churches to “stay under the radar”.
“We don’t want to draw any attention,” he said during the call, a recording of which has been heard by the Guardian. “When you draw attention to MMS you run the risk of getting in trouble with the government or drug companies. You have to do it low key. That’s why I set it up through the church.”
He added that as a further precaution he uses euphemisms on Facebook, where he raises money through online donations. “I don’t call it MMS, I call it ‘healing water’, to protect myself. They are very sophisticated. Facebook has algorithms that can recognize ‘MMS’.”
Baldwin, who trained as a student nurse and is understood to have no other medical expertise, said he chose Uganda because it was a poor country with weak regulation. Speaking from New Jersey, where he is based, he told O’Leary: “America and Europe have much stricter laws so you are not as free to treat people because it is so controlled by the FDA. That’s why I work in developing countries.”
He added: “Those people in poor countries they don’t have the options that we have in the richer countries – they are much more open to receiving the blessings that God has given them.”
Asked how babies and children were treated with MMS, he said the dose was reduced by half. “Little tiny infants can take a small amount, they will spit it out. It causes no harm – they just get diarrhea.”
The Guardian contacted Baldwin by phone in New Jersey and asked the pastor to explain his work in Uganda. He said: “We use natural healing therapies to help people – that’s something Christians do.”
Then he said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to be talking to the media right now.”
Asked what doses of bleach he was using in Africa, he abruptly ended the call.
April 22, 2019
Could anything be more ironic? The pope, the master of bling, telling people to reject glitter. We here at fuckthepope.com are laughing our collective asses off.
“Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but leaves behind only solitude and death,” the pope said.
Minister at secretive North Carolina church is sentenced to 34 months prison for running unemployment fraud scheme dubbed ‘God’s plan’
April 21, 2019
- Word of Faith Fellowship minister Kent Covington has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme
- Covington pretended to lay off workers at his businesses and had them collect unemployment benefits to replace paying actual salaries
- Prosecutors say many of Covington’s employees were Word of Faith Fellowship members and he used his position in the church to force them to comply
- The scheme resulted in more than $250,000 in fraudulent claims being made between November 2008 and March 2013
A minister at the secretive Word of Faith Fellowship in North Carolina has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that was dubbed ‘God’s plan’.
In 2008, Kent Covington laid off workers at his struggling manufacturing business so that they could collect unemployment benefits.
However, the employees continued to work at the company and their unemployment checks replaced their actual salaries.
At Covington’s sentencing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger said that the minister had shown a ‘cynical disregard to the law’ and that his actions ‘undermined the entire unemployment security structure of the state’.
Around 150 of his friends, family and members of his church attended his sentencing, according to WLOS.
Prosecutors say Covington and his employee, Dianne McKinny, later put the scheme into place at another of his companies – a stone fabrication business by the name of Integrity Marble & Granite.
It resulted in more than $250,000 in fraudulent claims made between November 2008 and March 2013, according to the original indictment in the case.
Word of Faith Fellowship leader, Jane Whaley, was named in a court document as someone who ‘promoted’ the scheme.
March 24, 2019
Sex convict rabbi Eliezer Berland promises he can revive people who were officially declared brain dead, if family members pony up some NIS 20,000 ($5,400), according to a television report on Thursday that exposed the working of the miracles-for-cash services offered by the shadowy leader of the Shuvu Bonim community.
Berland has long been known to offer “pidyonim,” or kabbalistic benedictions, to the ill, whereby they receive a blessing after donating money. In late-night visits, and surrounded by dozens of followers, Berland frequently shows up at Israeli hospitals across the country, unattended by staff, to bless the sick, according to footage uploaded by his followers.
Israeli journalists from Channel 12 news, seeking to unearth how it works and after encountering victims of Berland’s scheme, invented the case of a 35-year-old woman, “Yael,” who was declared brain dead.
They contacted Berland’s aide Natan, who was initially circumspect, saying he would have to check as it was a case of brain death. “If it wasn’t brain death, I would promise you that he would revive her,” he tells them, tacitly acknowledging the irreversible loss of all cognitive functioning.
But getting back to them after consulting with Berland, Natan says his mentor is confident he can do it. It would cost NIS 20,000, he says, vowing that the woman will be brought back to life. “At least once a week, the rabbi revives the dead in all sorts of ways in the hospital,” the Berland aide reassures them.
After they balk at the price, Natan puts Berland on the line.
“Bring NIS 20,000 within an hour, at 1 a.m. I’ll be at Rambam [medical center in Haifa],” the rabbi tells them.
“Wait, but Rabbi Berland, the doctors said she’s brain dead,” interjects Channel 12 reporter Yoav Even.
“The rabbi knows this,” replies Natan the aide.
“Yes, I can revive her. I’ve already revived people who were brain dead, who were totally paralyzed, people with cancer… against which they didn’t stand a chance,” Berland says, adding that he performed “total miracles, total miracles.”
“If you bring me NIS 20,000, she’ll wake up. There will be a miracle. Her brain will start to work, you’ll see her brain starting to work,” said Berland.
Natan later updated the journalists that Berland would offer the blessing remotely after the money was transferred, and wouldn’t show up at the hospital.
In a statement to the TV station, associates of Berland insisted that his religious services do not cost money.
“There is a matter of pledging money to charity during a time of suffering. The rabbi himself blesses and prays and doesn’t deal with money at all. If the money comes, it’s immediately distributed to the needy,” a statement from his associates said.
“We are witness to hundreds and thousands of stories of people who were saved by the blessings of the rabbi, which are supernatural,” the statement added.
Activists who have spoken to The Times of Israel in the past have cited several cases of followers who, they say, have sold their houses or have been plunged into debt for these benedictions, in what they argue is tantamount to extortion by a cult-like leader with undue influence over his followers.
The donations — provided by ostensibly consenting adults for a religious service — are not illegal under Israeli law.
In a recording recently obtained by The Times of Israel, which is punctuated by derisive laughter by his followers, Berland boasted of exploiting a woman who donated tens of thousands of dollars.
Long considered a cult-like leader to thousands of his followers, Berland fled Israel in 2013 amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted several female followers. After evading arrest for three years and slipping through various countries, Berland, 81, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in November 2016 on two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault, as part of a plea deal that included seven months of time served. He was freed just five months later, in part due to ill health.
He can raise the dead but can’t cure his own health problems. Hmmm.
Since then, he has resumed his activities as the leader of the Shuvu Bonim community, an offshoot of the Bratslav Hasidic sect that has been disavowed by the broader Bratslav dynasty.
February 22, 2019
He is also accused of having an astoundingly ugly wife.
A Pennsylvania church administrator stole $1.2 million from his religious community and used the money for family theme park vacations and other personal expenses, authorities say.
David Reiter, a 50-year-old business manager and occasional keyboardist for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, faces felony charges including theft, forgery, conspiracy and receiving stolen property, according to a criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost.
His wife, 44-year-old Connie Reiter, faces charges of conspiracy and receiving stolen property.
David Reiter, of South Park, was hired as Westminster Presbyterian Church’s financial administrator in 2001 and stayed in that role for about 17 years. He is accused of skimming money from the church’s funds between 2011 and 2018, according to the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.
During that time, Reiter was apparently an active member of the church ― playing keyboard for contemporary worship services and leading staff in worship during Christmas, Westminster’s senior pastor, Rev. Jim Gilchrist, told CBS affiliate KDKA on Tuesday.
“Everybody trusted him,” Gilchrist said.
Reiter allegedly falsified church accounts and created fake audit reports to cover his thefts. The complaint states that he charged about $220,000 in personal expenses on the church’s credit card and also made smaller unauthorized payroll transfers from church accounts to his personal accounts over the years.
The church funds were reportedly used to pay for vacations to Walt Disney World, Hershey Park and Cedar Point. Other expenses allegedly included Pittsburgh Pirates baseball tickets, music lessons for the Reiters’ children, restaurant bills, pet care, medical expenses, groceries, vehicle repairs and scrapbooking supplies.
Westminster Presbyterian Church’s board became suspicious in November when it attempted to perform a financial audit and was repeatedly told by Reiter that the auditor wasn’t available for a face-to-face interview. Reiter later gave a board member a cellphone number for the auditor but the person on the other end of the line was actually Reiter using a prepaid cellphone purchased with church funds, according to the complaint.
Reiter later confessed to Gilchrist that he had stolen money from the church, telling the pastor he did it “to make things better at home,” the complaint states.
“There was a tremendous amount of forethought and deception in this, which is all the more sad and just a sense of betrayal,” Gilchrist told KDKA.
The couple made an initial court appearance on Tuesday but didn’t enter pleas, The Associated Press reported. It’s unclear if they have retained attorneys.
Connie Reiter posted bail but her husband remains in jail, a district attorney’s spokesman told HuffPost on Thursday.
A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 28.
December 25, 2018
This coming from the head of perhaps the richest and most rapacious organization in the world; One swimming in gold, cash and art.
The pope gets our ‘hypocrite of the year’ award. Again.
Pope Francis assailed the “insatiable greed” of today’s consumerism at the Vatican and pilgrims crowded into the church at the traditional site of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem on Tuesday as Christmas celebrations began worldwide.
Thousands attended mass on Monday night at the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Basilica, where Pope Francis, the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, offered his Christmas homily.
“An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when, paradoxically, a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive,” the 82-year-old pope said as he drank 120 year old scotch from his solid gold chalice.
Mary Kreuper and Lana Chang, thieves
Two nuns have admitted embezzling about $500,000 (£400,000) and spending it on gambling in Las Vegas.
Sisters Mary Kreuper and Lana Chang, who worked at St James’ Catholic School in the city of Torrance, California, stole the money from school funds and gambled with it in casinos.
The nuns, said to be best friends, took money from an account used for tuition fees and donations, and were caught during a routine audit.
They had previously avoided detection by depositing cheques made out to the school into their own separate bank account.
The sisters, who have just retired, have expressed remorse for their actions, and although the police have been informed, the school is not bringing criminal charges against them. Because, hey, to the Catholic Church $500,000 is peanuts.
Sister Mary was the principal of the school for 29 years, while Sister Lana was a teacher there for about 20 years.
It is thought they spent the stolen money over a period of at least 10 years on gambling and travel.
In a statement, the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, the pair’s order, said: “The Sisters have confirmed the misappropriation of funds and have co-operated in the investigation.
“Our community is concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school.”
In a letter to parishioners, the monsignor of the church, Michael Meyers, wrote: “Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers.”
November 8, 2018
Frederick and Jerri Smith, fleecing the flock
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Memphis pastor and his wife are being accused of taking advantage of a 77-year-old woman in their church, racking up nearly $50,000 on her credit card.
The family called FOX13, claiming the pastor broke his promise to pay off the credit card debt.
Frederick Smith, 49, was arrested in connection with the alleged scam he and his wife committed against Clevie Williams.
Jerri Smith, Frederick’s wife, was arrested Thursday morning at 10:54. A warrant for Jerri shows the same charges as Fredrick.
Williams told FOX13 she was only a member of the New Life Holiness Church for a few months.
And she said one decision, which she originally thought was an honor, ruined her credit and put her in significant debt.
Williams said Smith asked her to be on the “Mother Board” of the church, which she initially took as an honor.
Shortly after that exchange, Williams said Smith stole her identity and opened up credit cards in her name that he used.
Williams told FOX13 that the pastor failed on his promise to pay off the nearly $50,000 in charges he allegedly made without her consent.
“I was almost speechless. I could not think of anything to do,” Williams said. “I said what is this? I never in my life time had a card, or anything from Bank of America. Never.
“I have never been inside one of the banks.”
Her family gave FOX13 the last statement from Bank of America, dated April 2015.
The amount due was more than $19,000 – nearly $9,000 in charges made in about 10 days.
“I just could not function. I was hurt,” said Williams. “I was more or less angry, and I just didn’t know what else to do.”
Williams filed a police report in May 2015 and identified Smith as a suspect, but she later declined to press charges after Smith agreed to pay the Bank of America bills the next month.
However, Williams told FOX13 that he never did.
Smith denied the allegations to FOX13, saying the money he spent was for “church expenses” and was approved by Williams.
Smith told FOX13 he never stole Williams’ personal information to open any credit card. He said
Williams opened the card and gave it to him to use as church expenses.
Smith is being charged with identity theft, theft of property between $10,000 and $60,000, and forgery between $10,000 and $60,000.
October 18, 2018
Cops find $63,000 in the ceiling at lavish home of Michigan priest, 67, who embezzled $5million from his parish
July 20, 2018
Jonathan Wehrle, smug big time embezzler
More than $63,000 was found hidden in the ceiling of the home of a Michigan priest who is accused of embezzling more than $5million.
Police searched Reverend Jonathan Wehrle‘s lavish home in Williamston on Tuesday and found dozens of $2,000 bundles of cash totaling $63,392.
Wehrle, 67, was charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos last year.
Authorities have already seized $1.1million from Wehrle, and church auditors say more than $5million is missing, according to WLNS.
July 12. 2018
It’s not just Christian televangelists who are con men
Ankara (AFP) – Turkish police on Wednesday detained on fraud charges a televangelist notorious for propagating conservative views while surrounded by scantily-clad women he refers to as his “kittens”.
Adnan Oktar, a bizarre and controversial figure who also denies evolution, was detained alongside dozens of mainly female alleged supporters on accusations of fraud, bribery and sexual assault.
Oktar, who critics see as the leader of a cult, gained notoriety for his programmes on the online A9 television channel and had regularly been denounced by Turkey’s religious leaders.
He presented programmes surrounded by scantily-clad and heavily made-up women — who appeared to have had plastic surgery — who he dubbed “kittens”.
In a major crackdown on his group, he was taken into custody in Istanbul as part of a probe by the city’s police financial crimes unit, state-run Anadolu news agency said.
A total of 235 arrest warrants were issued and at least 166 people have been detained so far in helicopter-backed raids in Istanbul, Ankara and also southern Turkey, Anadolu said. NTV television said 100 of those detained are female.
Oktar was caught as he was trying to run away, the Istanbul public prosecutor said in a statement, quoted by the Hurriyet daily. His lawyers were also detained.
He is also accused of “setting up an organisation with the aim of committing crime”, “committing fraud through abuse of religious belief and sentiment”, Anadolu said.
Oktar’s assets were seized, Anadolu said, adding that authorities appointed a trustee to his companies, associations and foundations.
Weapons including guns and rifles were also found during the raids, the agency said.
The head of Turkey’s Diyanet religious affairs agency Ali Erbas said earlier this year that Oktar had “likely lost his mental balance”, prompting a war of words with the televangelist.
Kirbyjon Caldwell – Houston megachurch pastor and spiritual adviser to George W. Bush indicted on13 counts conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering
March 30, 2018
Look here, ol’ people. I stoled yo’ money. It’s mah job.
A prominent Houston pastor and spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush has been indicted on federal charges that he sold millions of dollars in worthless Chinese bonds to elderly and vulnerable investors, according to federal authorities.
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, and Shreveport financial planner Gregory Alan Smith, 55, were charged with 13 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
Caldwell is accused of using his position as the senior pastor of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church to help lure nearly $3.5 million in investments into historic Chinese bonds that are not recognized by the Chinese government. He and Smith told investors they could see returns as high as 15 times their initial investment, according to the indictment.