Nationwide and Arkansas Class Certified in Gospel for Asia RICO Case

In a major development in the RICO lawsuit filed against Gospel for Asia in the Western District of Arkansas, Judge Timothy Brooks certified a nationwide class of people eligible to pursue a RICO claim against Gospel for Asia. He also certified a subclass of Arkansas donors. The specifics are below:

The judge gave GFA until October 10, 2018 to come up with a suitable plan for alerting donors about this action. This will give donors a chance to opt out of the class if they wish. I will report that process when announced here as well. For now, GFA donors can anticipate being contacted.

This is a significant milestone in this case and opens this action up to all donors (with the exceptions as noted in the judge’s order) since 2009. An exception not noted here are former employees of GFA who signed an arbitration agreement with GFA while employees. In another case involving former employees, a federal appeals court ruled that former employees pressing a RICO claim must submit to arbitration if that was a part of their contract. However, for all other donors, the class certification is a major development.

Read Judge Brooks’ Order

In a related development, Judge Brooks appointed a Special Master to oversee the discovery process. This had been anticipated since Judge Brooks had sanctioned GFA over their lack of response to discovery requests from the plaintiffs.

The Special Master is attorney David R. Cohen of Cleveland, OH. He will have freedom to inspect GFA’s documents wherever he believes is necessary to determine compliance.

I expected that GFA would have made an effort to settle before a Special Master was appointed. I suspect this is causing significant stress in Wills Point, TX and somewhere in Kerala, India.

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22 thoughts on “Nationwide and Arkansas Class Certified in Gospel for Asia RICO Case”

  1. This is a massive victory. I believe some may have felt this was a fait accompli, but it really wasn’t. Sometimes the rulings on classes go the other way, and Special Masters are really expensive, so judges do try to avoid assigning them when they can. It’s generally far more cost effective for the defendant to simply comply with the court orders.

    While it is a little disappointing that the plaintiffs cannot pursue fraud charges nationwide, it is still a victory to be able to go after fraud charges in Arkansas. The evidence used for the case made in AR can be used in other states. It will be laid out in black and white when this case goes to trial. Even with the worst of the Christian coverup gang lingering in some of the top law enforcement positions, it will be difficult for them to forsake their responsibilities in pursuing criminal indictments when so much compelling evidence is finally revealed.

    I am also excited to see a highly qualified special Master assigned. I am confident that Mr Cohen will be using an experienced team of forensic accountants.

    GFA should be looking into portable wealth about now. The next parties who should be concerned are Bland Garvey and Taylor Lebow. They will need this case settled almost as much as GFA will. I pray that GFA continues to act defiant and take their chances with a jury of their peers.

    This case could never have gotten this far without some key people contributing, and one of those central figures is Warren Throckmorton. It was Dr T who created this forum that allowed disenfranchised GFA employees to contact him. It was Dr T who worked to continue to maintain those contacts, something very few journalists are willing to do these days. That might explain why it takes a Professor in Pittsburgh to break the news on the largest charity fraud case in the world, despite the fraud being perpetrated out of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the U,S.

    It was Dr T’s perseverance that kept the story alive along with GFA staffers, donors and the many commenters serving in that 10/40 window. More dirt will be coming out once the information becomes a public record. Jay Sekulow and his ilk trying to silence this and similar blogs is about protecting the worst of the worst evangelical abusers. We should keep in mind that the victims of these scams are often among the most vulnerable, with many being seriously ill and elderly. They give sacrificially to these places.

  2. So now GFA is forced to tell donors about the lawsuit. Previously they had been attempting to hide it as much as possible.

    1. Exactly. The notification to prior donors is the one thing that GFA was desperately trying to delay for as long as possible. Despite receiving excellent coverage on this blog, this story has still not been covered well by other major publications. Many of the thousands and thousands of donors have no idea that there is something rotten going on in the city of Wills Point.

      As of October 10, 2018, GFA will no longer be able to conceal the truth from their donors. I am sure that if Mark DeMoss is still working for GFA, he and his team are crafting some sort of spin on this which will make it sound like GFA is being persecuted, while also assuring donors that their money is still being put to good use in India and other third world countries (despite Believers Eastern Church no longer being allowed to accept any contributions from GFA USA). One way or another, every single person who has donated any amount to GFA since 2009 will be alerted to the fact that there is enough proof of wrongdoing having been perpetrated by GFA, that plaintiffs are being allowed to proceed with this lawsuit.

      Thus far, GFA has resisted any attempt to settle this case, as many of their donors are elderly and not internet savvy. This has allowed GFA to conceal the seriousness of what has been going on. I believe that they are still collecting revenue of over $4M a month. Every month that GFA can delay a verdict gives GFA the opportunity to pull another four million in. That more than covers their monthly legal fees and also allows them to set up tens of millions of dollars for a future judgment.

      The good news is that GFA’s big revenue month is December, when they strongly pressure donors to increase their monthly support by additionally buying chickens, goats, water wells etc for the needy and giving those as gifts in the names of the donor’s family members in lieu of Christmas presents. Hopefully, this October surprise is going to be a game changer in terms of waking donors up so they can potentially redirect their donations to a more worthy cause.

    2. Since the discovery phase started I have been saying all along that KP would not really cooperate with it, and he has not. What is actually being done overseas is incriminating, so no actual cooperation with how the money is being spent. This has forced the judge to appoint the Special Master as only an outsider would actually get anywhere. Based on what has happened so far, I say there is zero percent chance that KP will cooperate with this order either. I fully expect another quick appeal on this order that quickly gets rejected just like the last one for a Special Master. Then KP will not draft any kind of letter and will send his lawyers in on the last day with some lame excuse why they cannot do such a mailing. He has to do this as GFA has only been surviving on the foolish donors who have not been paying any attention at all to the controversy. He simply will not comply. I do not know what Judge Brooks options will be at that point. Perhaps he will have the special master get the names of donors out of their database and do the mailing and charge them for it? I think this will get very interesting in four weeks when the time is up on this order.

      1. Can these folks be jailed for contempt if they ignore court orders? IANAL so I am honestly curious what happens if they choose that course.

      2. I expect a letter to be sent to donors. I don’t see any way for them to weasel out of that one without it being extremely obvious that they’re hiding things even to those who want to believe that everything is OK.

        At this point, their strategy has been to keep people from knowing, where possible, and when that fails, to at least have some kind of half-believable story that those who want to believe will accept. But refusing to send a letter when ordered to by the court has no excuse, and the court will ensure that donors will know, so refusing to send the letter won’t really gain anything and will only land them in serious trouble.

        Staff have not been telling their supporters about the lawsuit and asking for prayer about it because it’s a big thing, and individual prayer updates are not the way to inform supporters about something so big – at least, that’s what they’re saying and have presumably been told to say. And that would be reasonable if there had been some other form of communication to donors. Well, now there will be, or the court will take it very seriously.

        1. I am sure a letter will eventually be mailed out, we just disagree with who will do it. This will happen relatively quickly so we will not have to wait long to see who ends up being right.

          1. The plaintiff’s law firm will make sure it is done. GFA will provide Stanley’s law firm with a donor list and there will be publication of the class action suit. People will be able to opt out but if they don’t they will be in the class. Mr. J, you will soon be on the field.

          2. Yeah, there is no way out of this one. Trying to keep it from happening would probably result in some people going straight to jail. It would also probably result in GFA’s lawyers deciding they want nothing more to do with the case.
            There are things they can try to obstruct while pretending to cooperate, but not this.

    3. I found this very good succinct description of the class action process. Apparently the lead plaintiff sends notice to the potential class members. I wonder if there is any way for GFA to fight or further appeal & slow down or stop the notification?

      I wonder if they will send out a mass mailing before the notifications go out, trying to deflect the impact of the lawsuit.

      1. Or several mass mailings telling donors how great they are and how much God is using GFA. If the donors get flooded with flyers and mail it’s easier to miss the RICO notification.

          1. I think it’s pretty common for PR firms to flood the “airwaves” with puff pieces when a scandal goes down. The more abusive churches do this.

  3. Hopefully a bit of stress is being felt in Canada also.

    The appointed Special Master, David R. Cohen, has quite the resume.

      1. GWInsida:

        Do you know who took over the Canada operation?
        Any details on why they moved?

        I did find a Pat and Rebekah Emerick listed in Carrollton Tx.

  4. My goodness me! They have got flashy outfits these days! Which is perhaps part of the issue here …

    I have nothing against flashy outfits being used for the glory of God, but I believe that only a stole is actually necessary to signify that someone is a deacon or priest. And God can manage without even those, of course, and will still ‘do his stuff’ in the Mass nonetheless.

    (Perhaps I ought to add that the point of the photo is that the Pope is wearing only a stole in addition to his simple [and probably inexpensive] white robe. If these guys at GFA did the same, there would probably be rather more money for wells and blankets and food and …)

    1. Flashy outfits indeed! I believe part of the reason why the guys in the recently re-named “Believers Eastern Church” wear all the fancy stuff is the somewhat obsessive interest of the current metropolitan in St. Thomas and the metropolitans birth place in India. It seems there could be a belief in a proxy-transference of super spiritual powers due to the birth place of this leader and the location where St.Thomas landed in India and started churches. Kind of like a nice tradition taken a little too far. You can read more here: (if you really want to) Over the years there has been an undercurrent of all things St.Thomas from this leader, though when he went out to all the western churches to ask for money he would dress american and share with potential donors how the work on the field was simple bible stuff. Behind the scenes it would seem the high-church was being built, under the cover of many reasons told and not told. even the staff in the US had no clue what was going on in India with the whole high-church thing. The issue isn’t so much with the fancy garb, it is with the telling one thing to the west, while planning and doing a whole other thing in the east. It seems it was a cover up of sorts, not telling the whole truth. I could imagine it being hard for a non-staff person to understand this, not being on staff, the office had a precarious culture all its own. This covering-up of sorts would explain why the leadership was always so extremely paranoid about certain images getting out to the public. This would be prior to GFA intentionally going public with things like the Sisters of Compassion, which is an exact copy of the Mother Teresa movement – although certain communications are mentioned to the folks in the west about these sisters NOT taking a lifetime vow, see: Do Sisters of Compassion take a life-long vow to not marry? There seems to be a slightly different story with some of the sisters in the east … once again – a little cover-up goes a long way. As for the men missionaries on the fields of South Asia, some of these former missionaries of Gospel for Asia India have reported alot of missionaries leaving because of the supreme orthodox rule imposed by the metropolitan, I would imagine alot of western-funded missionaries in say the outskirts of places like Bangladesh, Nepal and other remote locations just want to share the Good News, versus establishing high-church in the middle of nowhere. So much for reaching the most unreached at any cost – the cost of the high church imposed orthodoxy could be costing alot more than just the fancy garb.

      1. “The issue isn’t so much with the fancy garb, it is with the telling one thing to the west, while planning and doing a whole other thing in the east. It seems it was a cover up of sorts, not telling the whole truth.”

        I agree. (I do think that the garb is emblematic of the problem, and am saddened that this particular community is not following the example of simplicity being set by the Holy Father.)

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