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.
CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED TO HOLD GOSPEL FOR ASIA ACCOUNTABLE FOR FRAUDULENT SOLICITATION AND MISUSE OF CHARITABLE DONATIONS
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.
Although somewhat foreseeable, this still feels a little shocking, sad and draining. I can't help but think that if KP Yohannan and GFA had chosen to provide answers to questions, compassion to staff and a small amount of contrition over the clear mishandling of funds, none of this would have escalated to this point. The hubris being witnessed here is astounding and somewhat reminiscent of Mars Hill. I am truly so sorry for all of those hurting from this and I pray for ALL involved.
After Teen Mania lost their compound via bank forfeiture, Ron Luce said he finally caved in, ignoring his attorney's advice, and called the Teen Mania Alumni who ran the survivors blog that first brought attention to the cult and abuse. It was the "Diaspora" of TM. After years of ignoring them, feeling he had nothing further to lose, he finally apologized to them. He said he was surprised by their response. The leader said they wanted the apology not the notoriety and would be resigning from managing the blog. You could hear this sort of shocked surprise and regret in Luce's voice. It was finally dawning on him that simply saying he was sorry and stopping the worst of the abuse, appeared to be all that was needed to save his giant empire which had taken in hundreds of millions of dollars. .
There have been many documented cases of abuse where the victims have steadfastly maintained that all they really wanted was an apology and the bad behavior to stop. They only turned to the courts when they were rebuffed, ignored or further victimized. This is a very real pattern. KP has no one to blame but himself for this. GFA has some of the most dedicated and devout Christian staff and contributors in the world. Grace would have been extended had not pride and arrogance stood stubbornly in the way. One can't help but see the parallels between GFA,Teen Mania and Mars Hill.
Thank you to the people who had the courage to see this through. I do not consider KP to be a shepherd or GFA to be a church. Based on all I have read KP is a predatory entrepreneur and a con artist and GFA was the vehicle in his scheme to obtain staggering wealth, power and control. Thank you to all the people, especially the truly redoubtable Warren Throckmorton, who worked tirelessly on this case. I expect more justice will follow.
This is a terrible situation fraught with much suffering. I pray that the best product borne from all this will be a general deterrent to all would be con artists out there who seek to prey on trusting Christians because they find them an easy mark. I hope this action marks the beginning of a new era and that reform in this industry will be a byproduct of the pain and suffering coming out of all this betrayal and disillusion. God will not be mocked. I pray that people will not be driven away from the one true God and will not be deceived into believing that the actions of KPY and GFA represent Christendom. They do not. They are one step away from a Nigerian 419 scam and should be regarded as such.
I would like to thank JD Smith and the GFA Diaspora group for first bringing to light the abuses at GFA and enduring the rebukes; Dr Warren Throckmorton for his massive investment of time, effort and diligence in pursuit of the truth; Pastor Bruce Morrison for his steadfastness in confronting GFA leadership and contacting authorities; Gayle Erwin for releasing key documents, and the Dickson's for their willingness to be plaintiffs in this civil action. There are so many others to be thanked, many who worked behind the scenes and sought anonymity to avoid retribution, plus accountants and attorneys who sifted through thousands of documents, and used their skills and experience to prepare the filing. It took the courage and conviction of these individuals, without which, today's legal action would not have happened.
I would encourage any and all victims to join the class action. Donors need to send a message to GFA and all other nonprofits that abuses of trust have consequences. Your voices must be heard. Light shall triumph over darkness.
I would also encourage major national media to cover this story in depth as it unfolds. The #2 nonprofit turns out to be a 30-year fraud and its leader is a con artist? That's huge news.
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