[Hpn] Help The Homeless SCAM - Church elder admits swindling $1 million in Tampa FL USA Tampa FL USA

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Mon, 06 Nov 2000 22:48:58 -0800 (PST)


Of donations to nonprofits to "help the homeless" where you live, what percent actually reaches "homeless people's pockets"? Who gets the rest of the money? For what? Purchases? Staff pay? Are donations to nonprofits "the best use of funds" to help homeless people? If yes, compared with what "other possible uses" for the funds? "Church officials said returns would be considered tax-free gifts from the church and led investors to believe profits would be used to feed the homeless and support foreign missions, federal prosecutors said." -- from article below http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/685142161/_k/2tjyISVDZFTQdJVf FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Nov 03, 2000 DEFENDANT ADMITS SWINDLING INVESTERS IN TAMPA CHURCH SCHEME TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A former church elder has pleaded guilty to taking part in a lucrative Greater Ministries International Church swindle, admitting to prosecutors he bilked Christian investors out of $1 million. James Chambers, 68, of Altamonte Springs, became the first of seven defendants to acknowledge a marketing scam in which parishioners of the Tampa-based church were told they could double cash investments of $250 or more in 17 months. The scheme, which originated in 1993, was called ``double your money gift exchange program.'' Investigators estimate as many as 18,000 people from across the country invested as much as $500 million. Greater Ministries officials claimed the high returns came from shrewd investments in gold and platinum mines and overseas banks paying generous interest. Chambers and six other church officials were indicted by a federal grand jury in March 1999 on 17 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Chambers pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and to transport property gained by fraud across state lines. As part of the plea deal, he agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of Greater Ministries founder and president Gerald Payne and the other five codefendants. Their trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 8. Chambers faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors said the program was a Ponzi scheme, where payments to early investors were made from investments by later investors, and it enabled Greater Ministries officials to collect ``several hundred million dollars.'' Church officials said returns would be considered tax-free gifts from the church and led investors to believe profits would be used to feed the homeless and support foreign missions, federal prosecutors said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mosakowski said church elders pocketed 5 percent commissions from the funds, which amounted to more than $1.3 million. The program was so successful that in 1998, church officials decided to cap outlays to each elder at $40,000 a month, he said. AP-ES-11-03-00 1736EST Received Id AP10030847781BAE on Nov 05 2000 11:54 END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** *********************************************************** 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***********************************************************