It’s no secret that on Tuesday, 7/30/02, President G.W. signed the corporate accountability and fraud legislation bill into law. This is probably a little late, in terms of the recent scandals and rip-offs, but at least, it now holds corporate CEO’s and their lackeys accountable for proper business practices to be used in their respective companies. One can only hope that these laws will retroactively apply to the current investigations of Enron, WorldCom, and Qwest, etc.
A few of the highlights of this new law are as follows:
First: There will be no easy money available to corporate criminals. Sound familiar?
Second: Prison terms, up to 25 years, will be imposed on the guilty. Good.
Third: There will be prison time for corporate fraud itself. Sound familiar?
Fourth: There will be prison time for illegal document shredding. Sound familiar?
Fifth: There will be prison time for these company leaders by putting restrictions on their accounting firms, when they falsify records to comply with corporate policy rather than the law. Sound familiar?
Sixth: Corporate CEO’s and CFO’s must sign off on the corporate figures.
Seventh: There must be no conflict of interest with other corporations.
Eighth: An independent board, with subpoena powers, will oversee the accounting.
Ninth: The stockholders will be protected from illegal activity.
Tenth: The employees will be protected from illegal activity.
But, don’t the same rules, as applied to these large corporations, also apply to all corporations – especially those that have a tax exempt standing? If corporate illegality is extant (let’s say) in a religious corporation, then shouldn’t the same guidelines and penalties apply to such church groups as well? Shouldn’t the accounting firms that simply whitewash the books and spending of such church corporations be also held accountable? Shouldn’t many of these execs, who violate the above legal rules, be put in prison for corporate and IRS tax fraud?
And I’m NOT talking prison terms at some country-club prisons, like Lompoc. Instead I’m talking hard time at Folsom and San Quentin, or Attica, etc. Just because all this criminality maybe regarded as “white collar crime,” doesn’t mean that such law breakers should be given an easy sentence. They’ve ruined the lives of thousands.
Religious organizations, just like these large corporations, have taken money from innocent people and spent it on themselves, living a lavish lifestyle that could never be approached by the average person. If this sounds like a re-iteration of the Worldwide cult’s activities, then please DON’T stop me. Don’t those same federal rules apply to all corporations?
Wasn’t fraud involved in the 1979 class action suit that was brought against the Worldwide cult? If there was fraud involved, and later relegated to a “not proved” status, then why didn’t the state continue to pursue the law and try to recompense the honorable people who wasted their hard earned money on a worthless cult?
Although the new laws of 7/30/02 have more meat than ever before, similar laws were always extant to protect the investors (or tithepayers), and their staff whose living was dependent on such corporations. How come such similar, flagrant violations have been rampant in many religious organizations? I’m not talking only about the Worldwide cult here, but others as well. Jan Crouch of TBN infamy, waved to her camera crew recently as she left the TBN center in Santa Ana, CA. To me, the place looks like a huge Roman brothel, with all the accompanying cultic décor.
Jan drove off in her latest, expensive, white, convertible BMW, with its “I love Jesus,” license plate, and two huge, white, pedigree German Sheppard dogs sitting in the back on red, leather seats. “In yer face, suckers.” The full extent of what those Crouches actually own is hidden from the donors, as TBN is a tax-exempt corporation.
Robert Schuler, as reported by a friend of mine on Maui, had acquired a bundle of land on the island. He and his biz friends finished up sub-dividing this land, and selling it as development packages. The profits, I’m told, went mainly to Schuler’s family. Could this be classed as corporate fraud? The land was bought from the membership donations (although the financial books may be juggled to show differently), but would this activity warrant a prison term? How come Schuler is still roaming free?
Pat Robertson, according to the web news, was relieved of his tax exempt status of “Operation Blessing.” This sub-corp. consisted of a fully, medically equipped DC-9 that was supposedly used for humanitarian reasons in Africa. In fact, it was used (much like Herbie’s G-II and G-III) for exec junkets to diamond mines in the Congo, where Robertson – the government alleged – had biz interests. When the Feds found out about this operation, they pulled the tax exempt status. Could this also be classed as corporate fraud? If the Feds believe this to be fraud, the how come Robertson is still on the loose? Could it be that his strong right wing preaching can “garner” many votes for the Republicans?
The list could go on and on with these “churches.” Corporate mismanagement and fraud are all hidden by a tax exempt status. Although these church corporations have accounting firms that submit the necessary IRS forms, showing that income = outgo, surely the lavish spending and lifestyles of the religious “rich and famous” must need to come under some sort of scrutiny. What about the accounting firms that have manipulated the books of many of these groups to show compliance to IRS law? Could their accounting activities be classed as corporate fraud too? How come they’re still in business?
In this world we have many weird situations. And so it goes with religions. As George Orwell said in his book “Animal Farm,” that: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Doesn’t that appear to be the case here? Secular biz corporations may get the sledge hammer of law imposed (and rightly so), but the religious whores come out of all this sludge as smelling “squeaky” clean. Why don’t the same laws apply to religious groups as they apply to biz corporations? They are all in biz for one basic reason – to make money. In fact, such laws need apply even more to churches, as they pay NO taxes. That tax benefit assumes that they’re committing no legal, corporate fraud. And their highly paid accountants are more than happy to shuffle the dollar figures to show that everything conforms to the legal statutes. How come all these guys aren’t the subject of a Federal investigation too?
When the class action suit was brought against the Worldwide cult in 1979, I was told by one of our Site contributors that the CA District Attorney, George Dukemejin, picked the dumbest church that most abused the tax privileges for his investigation. There’s no doubt about the figures that have been shown in PASTOR GENERAL EXPENSES, and other parallel articles. Financial abuses were rampant. Also the AMBASSADOR REPORT echoes the same financial exploitation. However, because of kickbacks, campaign contributions, and politics, Worldwide managed to slither out of prison terms for Apostle Herbie, and Darth Rader. There were reportedly 27 felony counts pending against HWA, and 19 pending against Rader. Shouldn’t these guys have been waltzing to the “Jailhouse Rock” in Folsom, or equivalent?
The only difference between the Worldwide cult, and Enron/WorldCom/Qwest etc., is the actual dollar figures. The abuses of both are mirror images if you’ve read some of the charges against these large corporations. And they’ve all left a trail of shattered human lives behind them. They’ve taken money to be used for purposes other than the originally stated corporate goals.
Let’s take a look at some of the similar misconduct here, for both big biz and the Worldwide cult, and the results of misappropriation of funds.
First: Income was misdirected for corporate leaders for their own luxurious living.
Second: Any questioning on corporate spending was met with forced resignations for any of the upper company or cult members, and in some cases, suicide.
Third: The accounting books have been “fixed” in a way that they appear to conform with federal tax laws. This applies for both taxed and tax-exempt corporations.
Fourth: Golden parachutes were created for the upper echelon and stuffed full of bullion. It’s a common practice to have off-shore accounts in these instances. I later found out about some who were doing this in the Worldwide cult. Off-shore accounts are not illegal, but when a corporation pays an exec’s salary or bonuses directly to that foreign account, and avoids the paying of US taxes, then THAT is illegal. But it’s done often.
Fifth: The incomes and life savings of many stockholders (or membership) have gone into the executive coffers and cannot be retrieved. Retirement pensions have been misappropriated, or in the case of Worldwide, stolen from a trusting membership in the name of doing “God’s Work.”
Sixth: The trust that was willingly given by many has now been shattered. This can be a severe psychological blow for countless, innocent folks.
Is it any wonder that people get mad at this type of conduct? I don’t wonder anymore, as I see the awesome damage done to decent people in a multitude of ways. I don’t wonder about people getting bitter and wanting to lash out at such behaviour. But while the victims are grieving, the church leadership hides behind the “Jesus forgives me, and I’m covered by His blood” routine. It all boils down to the scenario of: “In yer face, suckers.”
The cultmasters in the Worldwide camp always said that “bitterness” will destroy you. Since they created the circumstances for such bitterness in the first place, then won’t they eventually be destroyed as well? For those who have come through such experiences relatively unscathed, except for the $$$$$ given, then I’m glad for them. They’re lucky. But many others are not so fortunate. Many have suffered needlessly, many have died, and many are now destitute because of the criminal Worldwide activities and the despicable greed and aberrant conduct of the cultmasters and many hirelings. If these statements are untrue, then let the Worldwide cult prove them wrong by opening all their books to an independent audit and a full IRS examination. Since they don’t have to do this, then they certainly WON’T do it.
So, why aren’t the Feds examining the cultmasters of the Worldwide cult, the Living cult, the Philadelphia cult, and the United cult, etc., etc., etc., – among others?
As the tares of the Earth flourish, if they can “get away with it,” so it goes for big biz and the church biz. All anyone can do here is to warn people and/or individuals, and for all those who have the ears and the will to hear and prove it all, then let them do so. Their lives, stability, sanity, and future may be at stake.
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