Greater Ministries International

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Greater Ministries International
church
Industry religion
Founded 1993, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Headquarters Tampa, Florida
Key people
Gerald Payne, Director

Greater Ministries International was a church ministry that ran a Ponzi scheme taking nearly 500 million dollars from 18,000 people. Headed by Gerald Payne in Tampa, Florida, the ministry bribed church leaders around the United States to keep "donations" coming in.[1] Payne and other church elders promised the church members double their money back, citing Biblical scripture. However, nearly all the money was lost and hidden away. Church leaders received prison sentences ranging from 13 to 27 years.

The group also had ties to Stayton, Oregon-based Embassy of Heaven,[1] run by Glen Stoll, which was later closed by the Justice Department.[2]

Their group founded a newspaper, the "Greater Bible College" in Tampa, a line of "Greater Live" herbal remedies, cancer treatments ("We actually pull the cancer right out of your stomach", Payne claims), even a supplement called "Beta 1, 3rd Glucan" (to survive "end-times plagues") and plans for "Greater Lands", an independent country (an "Ecclesiastical Domain ... similar to the Vatican") where other governments would have no jurisdiction.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Extremism in America: Greater Ministries International". Anti-Defamation League. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  2. ^ Heckman, Candace (February 17, 2005). "Two Snohomish County men accused of anti-tax scheme". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  3. ^ "Ministry of Money". Southern Poverty Law Center. Spring 1999. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 

External links[edit]

Injunctions/press releases
Articles