SEC Reportedly Probes Mormon Church Over $100 Billion Investment Portfolio Allegedly Saved For ‘Second Coming Of Christ’

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The Securities Exchange Commission is investigating the Mormon Church over allegations it failed to disclose investments in a secretive $100 billion portfolio, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, years after the church was accused of skirting tax rules and deceiving donors to build up a fund one leader purportedly suggested could be used in the “second coming of Christ.”

The SEC’s probe—which the Journal reports has reached an advanced stage—specifically looks into whether an investment arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Ensign Peak Advisors broke the SEC’s requirements that large portfolio managers disclose certain holdings.

Sources close to the matter told the Journal the investigation is likely to lead to a settlement.

The church did not respond to a Forbes inquiry for comment, although the church had previously said the investment portfolio was intended as a rainy-day account.

The investigation comes just over three years after whistle-blower David Nielsen—a member of the church and former Ensign Peak investment manager—tipped the Internal Revenue Service that the firm had amassed $100 billion in a little-known charitable fund it collected from donations. None of that money had been spent for 20 years, according to Nielsen, who filed a complaint to the IRS in November 2019, in an attempt to strip Ensign of its tax-exempt status as a branch of a religious organization because the church hadn’t used the money on charitable works. Nielsen said the firm’s leader had instead suggested to staff that the church intended to keep the money for the “second coming of Christ,” which, according to Mormon teachings, will be marked by war (the head of Ensign Park told the Journal his comments were misinterpreted). The church denied any tax violations in interviews with the Wall Street Journal.

Nielsen had also sent a memorandum to the Senate Finance Committee last month alleging Ensign Peak had made false statements about its fund, asking for oversight. The Mormon Church and Ensign Peak said they were willing to work with officials, but that the allegations appear to be “dated.”

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1 comment

  1. The “Book of Mormon” may be fictional, concocted from the imagination of Joseph Smith, but there is nothing fictional about the massive wealth of the Mormon Church.

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