Gospel for Asia Accuses Certain Bloggers of Misrepresenting Facts

GFA HQ inside
Inside Gospel for Asia’s HQ. HH Architects website

I wonder who they mean.
Gospel for Asia apparently will only talk to Christianity Today. About the recent RICO class action suit against GFA, an unnamed spokesperson for GFA told CT (go read the entire article):

“While we are more than willing to answer any questions asked of us, it would be irresponsible for us to do so at this time since we have not yet been served any lawsuit,” GFA told CT. “All we know is what has been posted on the internet by certain bloggers who have previously misrepresented facts related to Gospel for Asia in a relentless attempt to discredit our ministry.

The first statement is a blatant lie. For months, GFA has not answered questions from donors and media (e.g., 20 year donor Bruce Morrison). GFA stopped answering my questions on May 7, 2015. At the end of this post, I have provided statements from survey respondents regarding the unwillingness of GFA to answer questions.
UPDATE: (Since I first posted this, I read an article posted by the Christian Post with the same statement. CP identifies the source of the statement as Daniel Punnose, K.P. Yohannan’s son. So, Rev. Punnose, please point out any facts you believe I have misrepresented.)
GFA also told CT:

“Once we know the nature of the accusations, we will respond accordingly and transparently,” GFA stated. “We remain—as we have been for over 30 years—committed to operating with integrity on behalf of so many of the world’s most desperate people. That is our commitment and we will remain focused on our Christian mission. We are so grateful for all of those who support our work.”

This statement insults the intelligence of everyone who has done any kind of investigation into GFA. Let’s review GFA’s recent record.

  • On October 2, 2015, the board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability disclosed that GFA’s membership had been terminated due to multiple violations of ECFA guidelines. The letter from ECFA outlining the violations of financial integrity standards can be viewed in this previous article.
  • In their response to the ECFA, GFA admitted smuggling cash to India. While GFA says it didn’t know such smuggling was illegal, questions remain about their conflicting stories.
  • The Independent Charities of America did not offer membership to GFA due to GFA’s failure to provide a clean audit for 2014.
  • The Office of Personnel Management banned GFA as an approved charity due to violations of eligibility requirements. The OPM imposed the most severe response allowed by law. GFA will not be allowed to solicit donations from federal workers for at least the next campaign year.

It is clear that GFA has learned nothing from their recent problems. Despite the removal of ECFA and ICA memberships and the disciplinary action of the OPM, GFA continues to blame bloggers for their problems.
I challenge GFA to back up the statements to CT. Where have I or any other blogger misrepresented facts relating to GFA? I have asked repeatedly for clarification and information which might clear up these matters. However, GFA has consistently refused to answer any questions from me and has made no effort to address the many loose ends surrounding their management of donor funds.
Because GFA has attacked my integrity, I challenge the organization to provide me, CT or any media source with evidence that I have misrepresented facts about GFA. I will gladly provide their explanation and any evidence GFA offers to my readers.
In October 2015, I created a survey designed for anyone leading and attending a Calvary Chapel. I have 77 responses so far. For participants who had contacted GFA, I asked if they were satisfied with answers given by GFA.  Most did not answer (59), but of the 18 that did, four were satisfied and 13 were not satisfied. Some of the negative replies are below. The four positives simply indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with GFA’s responses.

  • Saddened, not satisfied. Sin is blinding and deceptive. The answers the leaders and staff members gave me have broken my heart, and I pray for them daily that they will turn and be restored.
  • I got no answers or responses to my concerns and comments.
  • Not at all satisfied. They tried to turn the tables on the dialogue basically saying: “Prove the accusations to be true.” No offer of explanation or dialogue. This has been the recurrent theme with others in our congregation who attempted to address the issue with them.
  • Standard response was to blame the blogs as propaganda for former staffers.


Media Reports on the Gospel for Asia Fraud Lawsuit

Although the Gospel for Asia fraud lawsuit hasn’t become a megastory yet, some reports are being filed in various places. This post links to the ones I have seen.
Gospel for Asia donors misled, couple’s suit says – Arkansas Online (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
Gospel for Asia Sued for Fraud – WORLD
Gospel for Asia, Second Largest Mission Organization in U.S., Sued for ‘Fraud and Misuse of Charitable Donations’ – Gospel Herald

Gospel for Asia faces lawsuit for ‘fraud and misuse of charitable donations’ – Christian Today

Lawsuit Alleges Gospel for Asia Fraudulently Solicited Hundreds of Millions in Donations, Enriched Leader – Christian Post 
Gospel for Asia Withheld Hundreds of Millions Meant for ‘Urgent’ Needs, Says ECFA – Christian Post
Prominent mission agency facing federal lawsuit – Onenewsnow
The Christian Post article has been translated into Malayalam in this Indian paper.

KP Yohannan’s Gospel for Asia in the dock over fraud and misuse of donations – Narada News

The Narada News posting appears to be a reprint of a Tehelka article (Indian paper) which has since been pulled. Even though the title is still on the front page (see #6 below), it can’t be found on the site.
GFA is not commenting despite being asked.
After covering this story nearly everyday since April 2015, it is good to see others looking into it.
If you see other reports on the story, please post the links in the comment section.

Details about the Fraud Lawsuit Against Gospel for Asia (Full Text)

GFA HQ FrontCopy of the lawsuit against Gospel for Asia and exhibits have now been posted to the PACER system. The suit is Dickson v. Gospel for Asia (full text here) and is being brought on behalf of former donors Matthew and Jennifer Dickson and other former donors.
Former GFA donors should watch the case and may be able to share in a settlement. Eligible former donors will be contacted if the suit is successful. The suit alleges that K.P. Yohannan has used GFA to solicit money for the needy and then diverted those funds to purchase for-profit businesses. The other defendants are his wife (Gisela), his son (Danny Punnose), David Carroll, and Pat Emerick (Canadian director).
If successful, the lawsuit would effectively shut GFA down.
I will have more commentary over the next several days.
Read the suit here.
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Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Fraud and Misuse of Donations Filed Against Gospel for Asia

Just received this. More information to come. This is a major development in the ongoing Gospel for Asia story. GFA is the second largest mission organization in the nation.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Marc R. Stanley  (469) 831-7575
Monday, February 8, 2016
Dallas-based Stanley Law Group initiated a class action lawsuit today in United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas against Gospel for Asia, Inc. and several affiliates for fraudulently soliciting hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations, and then misdirecting the money into the personal empire of Gospel for Asia’s leader, K.P. Yohannan.
The lawsuit alleges that Gospel for Asia, Yohannan, and other GFA officials misrepresented to donors how, when, and where charitable donations would be spent, and funneled vast amounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars GFA has collected into for-profit businesses and an expensive headquarters. Plaintiffs Matthew and Jennifer Dickson charge defendants with violations of RICO and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as fraud and unjust enrichment.
Gospel for Asia is a global missionary organization that operates in South Asia, primarily within India. GFA tells potential donors that it supplies the “poorest of the poor” with food, provisions, and a Christian message. Lead attorney Marc R. Stanley said, “K.P. Yohannan and his Gospel for Asia inner circle have been exploiting the goodwill and generosity of devout Christians around the country for years. Gospel for Asia should return all the money it’s taken from donors who thought they were contributing to charity.”
Stanley Law Group (SLG) is a Dallas-based law firm that focuses on complex litigation. SLG also has offices in California and Oregon. Stanley is a past president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
# # #

Within the past year, Gospel for Asia was terminated from membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, denied membership in the Independent Charities of America and was sanctioned by the Office of Personnel Management to the greatest extent possible for violations of federal law
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Questions About Gospel for Asia's Use of Donations for Leprosy Care on World Leprosy Day

Today is World Leprosy Day.
Last week, Gospel for Asia issued a press release claiming to help thousands of leprosy sufferers.

WILLS POINT, Texas, Jan. 28, 2016 /Standard Newswire/ — Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported missionaries and workers will reach out with food, clothing and medical aid on Jan. 31, World Leprosy Day, to more than 4,000 sufferers in 63 leprosy colonies, highlighting the plight of those suffering from this brutal, but highly treatable disease.

GFA’s track record in recent years does not inspire confidence that funds donated for leprosy care will get to the victims of this dreaded disease.
GFA LOGOAccording to GFA’s project giving reports for 2011-2013, donors have given $284,528 designated for leprosy ministry. However, only $36,600 has been reported on Indian government forms as being received in India during the same period. On the FC-6 form, a specific line item exists for reporting foreign donations given to assist with leprosy treatment and outreach. Only about 13% of gifts designated by donors to GFA in the United States was reported as received by GFA’s field partners in India.
Due to giving in prior years, GFA had amassed a balance of nearly $400,000 in an account to help leprosy treatment as of March 31, 2014. Using funds from that account along with a small amount of the actual donations, GFA reported spending of just over $180,000 on leprosy care from 2011-2013. That is still over $100,000 less than donors gave. As with other needs, GFA has built up a balance in this account for reasons they have not disclosed. Even while GFA continues to solicit donations, organization leaders have significant funds waiting to be used in keeping with donor intent.