Man claiming to be a missionary accused of blowing $40M in Bible donations – National

Man claiming to be a missionary accused of blowing $40M in Bible donations – National

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued an arrest warrant for a Georgia man who is accused of “misdirecting” US$30 million (about C$39.9 million) in donations to send Bibles to China.

Jason Gerald Shenk, a 45-year-old from Dublin, Ga., allegedly collected the funds from faith-based charities and individual donors in Ohio and North Carolina. He told his victims he was a Christian missionary and would use the donated capital to produce and distribute Bibles and Christian literature in China.

Instead of creating the religious material, Shenk apparently used the money for his own purposes. The DOJ claimed Shenk spent about $1 million on online gambling sites, purchased $4 million in life insurance policies in various people’s names and spent nearly $1 million on diamonds, gold, and other precious metals.

Shenk also allegedly directed the funds to personal credit cards, stocks, real estate in Chile, and payments to the company running his family’s farm.

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The DOJ said Shenk executed the scheme from April 2010 until July 2019.

Authorities have yet to locate Shenk.

According to Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, Shenk has been charged with four counts of wire fraud, one count of failure to report a foreign bank account, and 37 money laundering-related charges.

Shenk could face up to 20 years in prison and substantial financial penalties.

Steinberg called Shenk’s alleged scheme an “egregious breach” of trust.

“When people of faith donate money for evangelistic purposes, they reasonably expect those who solicit their donations to act as faithful stewards of those funds,” she said.

The DOJ said Shenk renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2016 to avoid financial reporting requirements under federal law.

Anyone who has given a charitable donation to Shenk has been asked to contact U.S. federal authorities at 478-752-6810.

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