Christian Ministries Return $1.4 Million in Profits from Evangelical Investment Scam

May 05, 2004 07:50 AM EDT

Several ministries are stepping forward to return more than 1.4 million dollars that they unknowingly benefited from an investment scheme. Christ for All Nations, Marilyn Hickey Ministries, and Benny Hinn Ministries are among the ministries that have contributed the money to a victim's compensation fund, shining the light of goodness in the midst of a tragedy.

"I am proud of the unique response of Christians to tragedy," said Dennis Roossien, the receiver appointed to oversee the victims’ claims.

Nearly 160 million dollars were invested in International Product Investment Corporation, founded by California businessman Greg Sester, who promised an import-export business that never existed. The initial investors received profit from later investors. However, Marily Hickey Ministries, Benny Hinn Ministries, and Christ for All Nations were among the first to return the money.

“Where Greg Setser and others sowed evil, their response is transforming evil to good," said Roossien of the ministries who have shown their honesty in returning the money.

After it was discovered that the business was a fraud that cost churches millions of dollars, the ministries set up a victim’s compensation fund.

“We feel badly about what this man has done,” said Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, founder of Christ For All Nations, “and have urged everyone we know to come forward to do the right thing and help those who have been hurt.”

There are other reasons to step up early, according to Roossein, who said those who are the first to voluntarily return the funds would receive a release of liability. However, those who do not may risk losing not only their profits but also their original investment, possibly by paying for legal fees.

Reece Bowling, executive vice president of Marilyn Hickey Ministries and a co-trustee of the compensation fund is calling on any other ministries involved to do the right thing. "As Christians, it's what God expects us to do."