DOJ: House of Prayer Christian Church swindled $22+ million in VA benefits

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Stemming from FBI raids at House of Prayer Christian Churches in Georgia, Washington state, North Carolina and Texas in June 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a forfeiture motion for almost $150,000. The motion claims the church and it’s bible seminary defrauded hundreds of military members in a more than $22 million scheme.

The motion, filed Friday in the Southern District of Georgia, alleges the church committed theft and unlawful conversion of government property, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Authorities say the church used 20 financial institutions and 80 bank accounts to transfer funds.

Civil judicial forfeiture is a court proceeding brought against property that was derived from or used to commit an offense, according to the DOJ. There is no criminal conviction required, although the government is still required to prove in court the property was linked to criminal activity. In this case, the nearly $150,000 in assets were seized on July 22 from six accounts held by South Georgia Bank and First Citizens Bank as a result of federal seizure warrants authorized on July 21 in the Southern District of Georgia.

The forfeiture stems from the seizure of HOPCC-owned property, which the motion notes is related to violations of other federal laws, currently under investigation by the FBI and U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs – Office of the Inspector General.

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