• Report: #182085

Complaint Review: Benny Hinn

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  • Submitted: Sun, March 19, 2006
  • Updated: Sat, September 25, 2010

  • Reported By:Bixby Oklahoma
Benny Hinn
www.bennyhinn.org Nationwide U.S.A.

Benny Hinn asks for money that he doesn't need Televangelist is a scamming rip off liar Internet

*Consumer Comment: Weird People Claiming to be Sent By G-d Not New in the U.S.

*Consumer Comment: TELEVANGELISM: WINNING PEOPLE TO JESUS OR JUST A FRAUD?

*Consumer Comment: Second Wife

*Consumer Comment: Televangelists Nowadays are Allmost All Rip-Offs

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Benny Hinn, The famouse Televangelist is a scamming rip off liar.Recently on his telecast he was begging for money to buy new camera equipment.What about all the millions or perhaps billions he raised last year?Wouldn't that be enough to buy camera equipment? All the royalties, donations, salary, and paid appearances wouldn't cover the cost? And that was just last year alone. What about all the proceeding years?Still don't have the money,Pastor Hinn? What about all the money people sent you to build the healing center that you didn't build?Would that cover it?What about all the money you spend on luxury cars and wardrobe,still don't have enough?What about all your scamming televangelist friends?Couldn't they cover it?Another thing I want to point out is that Pastor Benny sells art on his show for 100 dollars,he calls it a donation,but it really is for sell.I can buy better art at less prices.

Oh yeah, wouldn't the cost of your art cover it,Benny?Does anybody know if Pastor Benny's millions cover everything but camera equipment?Shame on you,Benny Hinn,Can you still not afford camera equipment from the donations on your site?Just wondering.

Joe
Bixby, Oklahoma
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/19/2006 03:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Benny-Hinn/nationwide/Benny-Hinn-asks-for-money-that-he-doesnt-need-Televangelist-is-a-scamming-rip-off-liar-In-182085. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Weird People Claiming to be Sent By G-d Not New in the U.S.

AUTHOR: Helene - (U.S.A.)

There is a series of videos on "Your Tube" called God's Generals which depicts some of the nuttiness associated with the early Pentecostal-Charismatic "church" and it explains a lot.

Benny Hinn, Jesse DuPlantis, Tammy Fay and Jim Bakker,Paul and Jan Crouch, David Koresh, Tony Alamo and all of the other possibly mentally disturbed individuals who practice this nonsense...nothing new.

Hinn claims a direct spiritual lineage of Kathryn Kuhlman.

John Alexander Dowie liked to dress like a high priest described in the Book of Leviticus and founded a city named Zion, Illinois, a religious compound. He declared himself to be Elijah in 1901 and had a massive stroke. He later died of a stroke. The first Messianic Jew? He was a charismatic who told people that God would heal them. Many people died because of him and he was arrested in Illinois but the case was thrown out on appeal. I guess the Court figured that anyone who was crazy enough to go to this guy got what they deserved.

Then there is Charles Fox Partham 1873-1927 who some say was the founder of the Pentecostal movement in the USA. He mailed out handkerchiefs he had prayed over --for a fee.

John G. Lake was another charismatic winner. His schtick was Necromancy which he leaned from Dowie in Zion, Illinois. " God does not appreciate disabled people."

The God's Generals series was missing III-but another poster put up one of Jack A. Coe from the 1950s...Another faith healer. Guess there was more than enough ignorance to go around.

Next is Aimee Semple McPherson, one beautiful woman, looks part Native American who founded the Foursquare Gospel Church. She died of a drug overdose in California at the age of 53.

Then, Kathryn Kuhlman  1907-1976 whom some people revere to this day is mentioned in Video 6. With that overdramatic voice every drag queen would like to have. Which MAY be why shyster Benny Hinn modeled his own services after her. He puts in an unexpected cameo here, fake accent and all. She reminds me of Eretha Kitt - Over The top melodramatic camp at its best!

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#2 Consumer Comment

TELEVANGELISM: WINNING PEOPLE TO JESUS OR JUST A FRAUD?

AUTHOR: Helene - (U.S.A.)

I was curious about old "Rip off Robert" Tilton because I don't hear much about him since his debacle in the 1990s here.So I checked up on him to see what he was doing and who he was conning now.

Apparently people in Tulsa, OK were victimized as much as the Texas faithful.

from 5/4/2003 of the Tulsa (OK) World newspaper:

"Work continues on a home being built by Robert Tilton's company, Venetian Way Holdings Inc., at 1350 S. Venetian Way on the island front of Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach, Fla. Building permits, which list Tilton as the owner, have been issued for a two-story home with a tile roof, pool, spa and terraced deck.Robert Tilton's company, Venetian Way Holdings Inc., purchased this lot in 2001 for $1.39 million. Tilton is building a two-story home on the property, records show."

"Tilton's ministry reaching out again, raking in millions

"More than 10 years after his ministry collapsed in scandal, Robert Tilton is reaching millions of television viewers with his pitches for money, living comfortably in south Florida and maintaining a connection with Tulsa.

"Far from shrinking into obscurity, Tilton is reaping millions from his mailing list and daily shows on Black Entertainment Television. He has formed two companies, bought a 50-foot yacht and purchased a $1.3 million piece of oceanfront property in Miami Beach through his company, records show.

"And although Tilton's downfall began when prayer requests sent to him were thrown away in Tulsa trash dumpsters, prayer requests sent to his Tulsa post office box two years ago were apparently still being discarded. A woman who spent two days opening mail to Tilton told the Tulsa World that she and other workers were instructed to remove the cash and checks and throw away the letters and prayer requests written to Tilton.

"A longtime business partner, Dan Moroso, also refused to discuss Tilton. Moroso said he had not done business with Tilton "in a long, long time."

"Moroso is listed as the vice president of Liberator Productions, a Miami, Fla., company, in a filing dated May 29, 2002, and Tilton is listed as the president of the for-profit company. Property records show Moroso lives several blocks away from the home Tilton is building in Miami Beach.

"Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson filed several lawsuits against Tilton on behalf of people who had filmed testimonials or donated money to Tilton. One of the suits resulted in a $1.5 million verdict against Tilton but was reversed on appeal.

"He's a great communicator and very effective at touching people in their emotions and motivating them," Richardson said. "He's an enjoyable person to be around, but you just want to keep your hands on your pocketbook."

"Richardson said Tilton's followers are often in desperate situations.

"The people that these guys so often attract are people that are going under for the third time. If you looked up and saw a straw on the surface of that water, you would still reach for the straw."

"Brain-eating rats

"In 1991, ABC-TV's "PrimeTime Live" program reported that Tilton's Word of Faith World Outreach Center Church, then based in Dallas, was making $80 million a year from followers through its direct mail campaign. At the time, Tilton's television show, "Success-N-Life," was broadcast by 200 stations nationwide and his church claimed 10,000 members.

"PrimeTime Live" suggested Tilton's ministry engaged in mail fraud and showed contributors' letters, many of them requests for help, in a trash Dumpster outside Commercial Bank of Tulsa. A Tulsa recycler said he also found thousands of prayer requests for Tilton's ministry among the waste sent to him by a company that handled Tilton's mail.

"The program sparked an investigation by the Texas attorney general and numerous lawsuits. Stations canceled Tilton's television program until it eventually went off the air.

"He divorced his first wife, Marte Tilton, in 1993, and married evangelist and former beauty queen Leigh Valentine the following year.

"Two years later, his first wife sued for more than $1 million and his marriage to Valentine ended in a bitter public feud. Valentine alleged Tilton, in a drunken rage, verbally abused her, claimed he was the pope and thought rats were eating his brain. She eventually lost her claim to church assets.

"Tilton has since married a Florida woman, Maria Rodriguez.

"Tilton sold his Dallas church in 1999 for $6.1 million. At the time, headlines dubbed Tilton a "beleaguered TV preacher" and news coverage portrayed a man beset by marital and financial problems. But he was already well into his comeback.

"During testimony in his divorce from Valentine, Tilton testified that he was bringing in about $800,000 per month and living aboard a $450,000 yacht in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Records show the 50-foot yacht, named the Liberty Leigh, was registered to Tilton.

"Tilton returned to the air in 1997, buying time on independent television stations in several large cities. The following year, his program began airing on Black Entertainment Television.

"Tilton's show airs on the network for one hour each morning at 3 a.m, as well as 6:30 a.m. on Mondays and 10 p.m. Sundays. The network said it has a potential audience of 74 million homes, although it had no figures on individual viewership of Tilton's show.

"Ole Anthony, the founder of the religious watchdog group the Trinity Foundation, said Tilton pays $50,000 per month for the air time. The foundation, based in Dallas, was largely responsible for exposing Tilton's practices in 1991.

"Anthony estimates that Tilton's ministry is grossing $24 million a year and that most of his shows are reruns or repackaged versions of older shows.

"With no production costs, a fraction of his former TV time budget, his net must rival that of the good old days with absolutely no effort on his part," Anthony said.

"The purpose of all of it, including the prayer line, is to get names and addresses, which are the key to successful direct mail."

"Tilton's Miami, Fla., studio has an ancient Rome theme, complete with faux stone pillars and vine-covered walls, piles of faux boulders, urns and other artifacts.

"The shows feature testimonials from working-class people who say they experienced a financial turnaround after giving hundreds or even thousands to Tilton. During one recently aired show, Tilton, clad in a tailored brown suit, urges viewers to make a financial "vow" to his ministry even if they are in debt.

"Anyone can give when things look good, but when you give out of want, when things don't look good . . . it releases faith," he says.

"Tilton exhorts viewers toward the end of his show to make a $1,000 vow because "my God is going to supply your need.

"Thank God we have freedom of religion in America, that I can boldly proclaim these powerful truths to you."

"As the show continues, Tilton reads the names and hometowns of viewers who have called to pledge money. At the end of the program, a gospel singer performs while Tilton sits at an imposing stone desk nearby. Tilton gleefully claps his hands as an assistant hands him stacks of yellow pledge sheets.

"Those who call a toll-free number broadcast on his show and give their address are placed on the ministry's mailing list. They receive two or three mailings from Tilton each month.

"Tilton's mailings promise a financial windfall from God if the recipient will only donate to his ministry. Some letters request specific amounts, such as $200. Many mailings contain trinkets such as packets of anointing oil, miracle bracelets, prayer cloths and large posters of Tilton grimacing in prayer.

"The mailings request that do nations and prayer requests be sent to a Tulsa post office box.

"Two years ago, employees who opened the mail were instructed to remove the money and throw out the letters and prayer requests, according to a Tulsa woman. Patricia Morrow said she worked for Mail Services Inc. for two days in 2001, opening letters addressed to "Rev. Tilton" and taking out the cash.

"Morrow, 63, said she got the job through an employment agency. Morrow said she worked for two days in the basement of the Kennedy Building in an old bank vault opening hundreds of letters. The building at 321 S. Boston Ave. is the same address where Tilton prayer requests were found in Dumpsters in 1991.

"They were all addressed to this Rev. Tilton," Morrow said of the letters she opened.

"You're sat down in a cubicle and given a letter opener. You have bundles and bundles of mail and a trash bin beside you. You slice open the envelope, take the money out and throw the letter away in the bin."

"She said another employee came by to empty the trash bins regularly and a manager collected the cash and checks from employees who opened the letters.

"The bins are picked up and emptied into trash sacks and put into a special room. They weren't there the next day."

"Morrow said there was no attempt to keep the letters together and it was apparent that no one planned to read them. But Morrow read many of them during her two days with Mail Services Inc.

"You cannot help but read them," she said. "All these letters were like, 'Pray for me,' because they were terminal or their son is terminal or there was no money for food . . . desperate situations."

"She said nearly all of the letters she opened were from rural Florida or rural Georgia and they often contained cash in odd amounts.

"There would be like $17, and the letter would say, 'I realize I have to give $2 more than I usually give.' "

"She described the letter writers as lonely homebound people in rural areas wanting help from God.

"Morrow said there were about a dozen other women opening mail and several told her that employees were expected to open enough letters to produce $1,000 per hour.

"It was an unstated criteria that you open enough envelopes to generate $1,000 an hour. It was unbelievable, literally unbelievable."

"After opening the letters for two days, Morrow said she told a manager at her employment agency that she had concerns about what was going on there.

"I told her that it was getting to me about these letters and could she find me another job?"

"Morrow said she was then told to leave Mail Services' office immediately and not finish the work day.

"Officials at the Kennedy Building would not comment on whether Tilton's mail was still being opened there.

"Tilton is still listed as pastor of a small church, Church Triumphant, that meets in an office building in Farmers Branch, Texas. During worship services last Sunday, about 70 people attended and sang for an hour while a four-member church band played.

"Bob Wright preached a sermon focusing on prosperity. Wright, who also operates a used-car dealership in Dallas, said that he had faith that God would send people to Wright's car lot.

"A woman who attended the service said Tilton preached at the church about one year ago and she was unsure when he would return.

"Property records list the owner as Church Triumphant and list the same Tulsa post office box used by Tilton for several for-profit corporations. Wright did not return calls seeking comment.

"Anthony said Tilton maintains an affiliation with the church so that he can maintain his organization's tax-exempt status as a church and avoid filing financial returns.

"Their moral code is not the Bible. Their moral code is the IRS code," Anthony said.


"Miami Beach property

"In addition to operating his ministry, Tilton has formed several for-profit companies in Florida and Oklahoma, records show.

"Tilton formed Venetian Way Holdings Inc. three years ago. The company lists its address as 320 S. Boston Ave., the address of Ferris, Tilton's Tulsa attorney. According to its incorporation papers, the company exists to hold title to property for a tax-exempt organization.

"Records show Venetian Way Holdings paid $1.39 million for a 12,000-square-foot lot on an island fronting the Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach two years ago.

"Building permits have been issued for a two-story, single-family home with a tile roof, pool, spa and terraced deck. The holding company takes its name from the street on which the home sits: Venetian Way.

"Tilton listed himself as owner of the property in a building permit request for a burglar alarm.

"Tilton also formed Liberator Productions Inc. three years ago, with Moroso as vice president and Barbara Miller of Tulsa, as secretary-treasurer. The company lists a Tulsa post office box as its address. "


THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPENED IN HIS TEXAS OPERATION TOO.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Mail-order faith comes with accessories

"Trinkets -- including oil, a bracelet and the "Green Financial Prayer Cloth" -- are supposed to bring wealth.

"God wants to make you rich, promises "Pastor Bob" Tilton, and Tilton will send you financial prayer cloths, posters of himself, packets of oil and other trinkets to make it happen.

"Those who send money to Tilton's ministry through his daily shows on Black Entertainment Television wind up on his massive mailing list. His mailings, several each month, urge recipients to send money to Tilton's Tulsa post office box.

"Letters are personalized, with the recipient's first name and hometown sprinkled throughout. All are signed "Bob" in handwriting and "Pastor Bob Tilton" underneath.

"Here are excerpts from several recent mailings:

"Feb. 22: "I've sent you this packet of oil to help you release your faith for your emergency miracle," states the letter. "Use it to anoint whatever represents your Emergency Crisis. If it's a financial crisis, anoint your wallet or billfold or checkbook."

"The letter ends by asking for a "sacrificial gift of $20 or the largest gift you can possibly give even if you have to scrape the bottom of your meal barrel."

"March 1: A thick mailing includes a large poster of Tilton with one hand raised and his eyes closed tightly, surrounded by 21 squares marking a calendar. The mailing includes 21 stickers that recipients are to peel off and affix each day to the poster. It also includes a red "prayer of agreement miracle cloth" and three forms that recipients can return along with financial donations during each week of the 21-day prayer "campaign."

"Tilton is pictured throughout the mailing grimacing in prayer, on his knees praying and clutching a red cloth and praying.

"Take the enclosed poster of me and my hand and put it up on your refrigerator or a mirror . . . somewhere so that you'll see it every day. Then every day for the next 21 days . . . lay your hand on top of mine and agree with me for your miracle," the letter states.

"The letter also directs recipients to trace their hand on a "miracle request" form and return it with the red prayer cloth. Tilton promises to take the requests and cloths "to my prayer room or my prayer altar on my daily TV program, Success-N-Life."

"The letter ends by requesting "your best financial gift as an expression of appreciation."

"You don't buy God but all throughout the Bible, when people came to God with prayer requests, they always brought a quality offering."

"March 28: A four-page letter includes a fluorescent pink cotton cord, which Tilton calls an "Ezekiel 16:11 bracelet." The letter instructs recipients to "place this miracle faith bracelet around your right wrist right now.

"I am coming against the spirit of poverty that is trying to cut off your money supply. . . . Get out your largest bill and lay it under this miracle bracelet that I have given you. . . . Give God your biggest and best."

"The letter includes a form on which recipients can check off a list of ailments or financial problems and return it to Tilton with their largest bills.

"It also includes testimonials from people such as "Earl," who claims his family income jumped from $9,000 per year to more than $94,000 two weeks after his wife began sending money to Tilton.

"April 8: "In Jesus' name, I am sending you this Green Financial Prayer Cloth for you to defeat Satan's plan," states the letter, which contains a strip of thin, green fabric.

"Recipients are directed to write the date, time and their name on the cloth. "Place this Green Financial Cloth under your pillow and allow God's spirit to rest upon you as you sleep tonight. Tomorrow, remove the Green Financial Prayer Cloth, touch it to your heart, your forehead and your pocketbook."

"The letter suggests a financial donation to Tilton of $107, $177 or an amount decided by the recipient. It contains a wish list of items that recipients can check off, including: "a better job," "new clothes," 'a loan" and "a newer car."

"April 14: "I must tell you boldly: God wants to make you rich. . . . God wants to make a millionaire out of certain ones who receive this letter. Is it you?"

"The letter includes a large slip of paper fashioned into a $1 million bill and a penny glued to the reverse side. The bill includes a checklist of desires, including a new home, new car, a piece of real estate or money for vacation.

"I want you to put a checkmark on the back of the Million Dollar Bill of what you need or desire, and send it back to me, along with a Seed Faith Gift of $200. . . . This ministry has given you spiritual food, so it's time to pay your tithes."
--------------------------------------------------- There is a Scriptural Quotation in the Christian Bible that refers the dog that returns to its vomit...
SINCE FORT WORTH, TX IS A PART OF THE DALLAS-FORT WORTH METROPLEX IN WHICH FARMERS BRANCH WAS LOCATED, TILTON WAS A MATTER OF CURIOUSITY THERE AS WELL.


THANKS TO
Trinity Foundation | The Wittenburg Door


Reprinted from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 5, 2005

Robert Tilton returns, and his hand is out again

By Jim Jones

Special to the Star-Telegram
Saturday February 5, 2005


I was skimming my cable TV for tennis or football late Sunday night and was surprised to see the Rev. Robert Tilton big as life. I thought the get-rich-quick TV evangelist had gone down the drain after his troubles back in the 1990s.

But there he was, with a Bible in his hand, looking out over the Pacific Ocean with million-dollar yachts in the background.

He was imploring viewers to order free copies of his new books, How To Be Rich and Get Anything You Want and How To Pay Your Bills Supernaturally.

"God wants to bless you and make you rich," he declared, quoting Ecclesiastes 5:19: "Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth . . . this is the gift of God."

I found out later that Tilton has been preaching on cable's Black Entertainment Television for some time. I've been out of the loop.

One of the last times I wrote about Tilton was in 1993, when his former attorney, J.C. Joyce of Tulsa, told me the evangelist was going off the air and laying off 150 employees at his church in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch.

"It is a very, very sad day for religious freedom in the United States," Joyce told me back then. "They've all but destroyed him."

Tilton left the air when lawsuits were filed against him after a 1991 investigation by ABC's Prime Time Live questioned his fund-raising practices and claimed prayer requests sent to him were tossed in a Dumpster.

Tilton denied the allegations. He sued his critics, but without success. None of the lawsuits filed against Tilton was successful, either. None resulted in any damages being awarded.

His absence was brief. He began re-broadcasting his old tapes on BET in 1997, said Ole Anthony, president of the Trinity Foundation, a religious watchdog group in Dallas that helped ABC in its stories about Tilton.

"Now he's trying to reinvent himself" and is taping new programs, says Anthony. "He's grayer, fatter and he's got a new wife. That's about it."

He's doing well financially, according to the Tulsa World. The newspaper quoted records in 2003 showing he had bought a 50-foot yacht and was building a 2-story home on oceanfront property in Miami.

Tilton spends about $50,000 a month on television time across the nation, Anthony says. My efforts to reach Tilton representatives were not successful.

Tilton no longer is on prime time in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. But he's on at 5 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sundays on BET. Insomniacs can see him at 3 a.m. every day on BET.

Some recent programs have featured his third wife, Maria Rodriguez, a Christian singer, and their three poodles. On Tilton's Success 'N Life Web site, one can order a free Faith Aid Miracle Healing Kit with "anointing oil, prayer cloth and prayer of agreement [suitable for framing]."

When I sleepily got up to watch Tilton at 3 a.m., he was alone on his Roman-themed set in Miami, telling people God would give them spiritual and financial healing if they made a vow to support Tilton's ministry.

Looking straight at me, Tilton said, "There's a person watching me. If you make a $1,000 vow, it is going to break the shackles off your finances."

He held up his hand, tightly closed his eyes and prayed blessings on his viewers, interspersed with short bursts of speaking in tongues.

"It's not God's will for you to live a life of poverty," he said. "The devil doesn't want you to have any money. I'm not talking about greedy. I'm talking about having what is yours."

Acknowledging that some might have doubts, he declared, "This is not crazy. It's the Bible." Later, he said, "Thank God for religious freedom in America. You don't have to believe this."

I'm all for religious freedom. I know many sincere people support Tilton, praying for healing of their bodies, their souls and their bank accounts.

It's their privilege. But they should think seriously about whether their donations are being used to honor God or to benefit Robert Tilton."

**************************************************


You see, anyone who cause as many people to turn against Christianity as he did and bring hundreds of converts to Judaism that he did cursing the very name of the Christian Messiah --they believe he is, anyway and who am I to say He wasn't, definitely is doing something wrong since he represents himself as a direct representative of Jeeeeeeeeeesssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuus.

Is he winning souls for Jesus and working miracles in His name and the other things that the Christian Scriptures says he should do IF he was for real OR is he making himself as much money as a drug dealer ( Karl Marx SAID that "religion" was the opiate of the people.I don't think he mentioned Jesus,though.)

AND FROM THE DALLAS OBSERVER:
August 8, 2006
The Robert Tilton Files
Filed under: Cover Story

Admit it. You cannot get enough of Robert Tilton. God knows you couldn't in 1991.After PrimeTime Live torpedoed the ministry of televangelist Robert Tilton in 1991, he filed a libel lawsuit against Capital Cities/ABC, PrimeTime Live, Diane Sawyer, producer Robbie Gordon and Trinity Foundation leader Ole Anthony. Tilton lost. No surprise there. As a public figure, Tilton had to prove not only that the broadcast was false but that ABC knew it was false. As one of ABC's briefs put it, Tilton faced one of the most difficult burdens of proof in the law. It is a burden that has been described by one Supreme Court Justice as so exceedingly difficult' to meet that it rises to an almost impossible level.'

And thank God for that.

But court documents in the Tilton case suggest that PrimeTime producer Robbie Gordon, now considered the queen of hidden-camera investigations, pushed the ethical envelope in several aspects of the Tilton story. After the jump are some examples from court documents.


The Prayer Requests

From the opinion issued on June 20, 1995, by federal Judge Michael Burrage: In making the statements, [ABC] relied upon Mr. [Ole] Anthony, who purportedly found the trashed prayer requests. However, [Tilton] asserts that Defendant, Kelly Sutherland, was advised by Peggy Wehmeyer, now ABC's religious [sic] editor, that Mr. Anthony could not be trusted and was obsessed with his crusade against [Tilton]. (Peggy Wehmeyer, then a religion reporter at WFAA-Channel 8, knew Anthony.)

From findings of fact and conclusions of law issued on July 16, 1993, by federal Judge Thomas Brett: Many of the prayer requests Anthony stated in his log, and confirmed by deposition, that he found in the trash on September 11, 1991, could not have been found then because the postmark date was after September 11, 1991. Anthony recanted by subsequent affidavit.

I'm not defending Bob in any way, says Steve Lumbley, who worked with Tilton's Word of Faith Outreach prayer ministry in 1991. The mailings all had some kind of gimmick. They weren't godly at all. But the primary allegation that came out of thatthat prayer requests were thrown awaywas categorically untrue, and I can guarantee you that was not a normal practice.

An elaborate routing system sent Tilton's mail to a Dallas post office. The mail was then trucked to a branch of Central Bank & Trust in Tulsa where the money was removed and deposited. The lawyers and the IRS liked it like that, Lumbley told the Dallas Observer. Nobody from the ministry could be accused of stealing or diverting.

Envelopes and contents were taken to Internal Data Management, also in Tulsa. The prayer requests were boxed and sent by truck back to Dallas. Tilton's assistants piled the prayer requests in a room, organized by Tilton's promises to pray, lay hands, sprinkle salt, anoint with oil or whatever.

Tilton's lawyer produced large bills showing the boxes were shipped to Dallas and back to Tulsa. Why, if the prayer requests were tossed, would the ministry have wasted money shuttling them back and forth? In Tulsa, IDM kept the prayer requests for several months and then they were destroyed by incineration, according to court records.

Producer Gordon was directing the trash operation, according to her affidavit in the Tilton suit. Ole Anthony says in a deposition that ABC told him and his Trinity Foundation dumpster-divers when and where to look. The decision to go and where to go and when to go, to do the trash, was ABC's, he testified. I was under the constant direction of an ABC producer [Gordon] by phone. ABC never explained why prayer requests were found in a dumpster at the CB&T downtown location (shown on TV). Tilton's mail was processed at a branch bank five miles away.

The India Crusade

Another point of contention in the Tilton lawsuit had nothing to do with Ole Anthony. PrimeTime accused Tilton of making big bucks during a mission crusade in India. If each of these people gave just a few pennies, Diane Sawyer said over photos of sad-eyed children, Tilton would get back hundreds of thousands of dollars, money taken from the people he himself calls the poorest people on earth.'

Says Judge Burrage: ABC's cameraman's dope sheet for the taping of the India crusade, which provides the time sequence of the contents of the tapes, shows that the offering was actually taken up by a lady worker with a green bag. [Tilton] states that the offering was taken up at the request of Jack Harris, the coordinator for the India Crusade, before [Tilton] arrived to preach. [Tilton] also asserts that ABC's raw footage of [Tilton] shows that he did not pass a collection basket and was not present when the collection plates were passed among the crowd. He claims that ABC's raw footage instead shows another person preaching as the offering was taken by the lady worker. Moreover, [Tilton] asserts that the offering was not taken up for [Tilton] and his Church. Rather, it was taken up for the benefit of local pastors in India.

PrimeTime stated that it relied on an Indian journalist who covered the crusade as an independent contractor for ABC News, so even if the information that journalist provided was false, they would not have known it. Hidden-camera footage by Gordon, however, shows Jim Moore of Response Media telling her: Foreign countries is all mission work. Take Tilton. Tilton does a lot of missions work. He sends a lot of money overseasHe's built a clinic in MexicoBob is real opposed to people raising money for missions and not doing it. Overseas is strictly outgo. There is no income.

Creative Editing

An anonymous old friend of Tilton's was shown in silhouette on the PrimeTime show talking about running a preacher scam: We said that when we graduated, that we would buy a good tent, a dynamite sound system, a good amen section and fly around the country and get rich. He was talking about him and Tilton. The raw footage, however, showed that the man, later identified as a casual acquaintance named John Michael Taylor, actually used the words, I said.

ABC contended that because Taylor made similar statements using we, it didn't matter that they'd spliced in a we in place of an I. But ABC News executive producer Richard Kaplan agreed that the changefor which Gordon took responsibility in an affidavitwasn't proper editing procedure. In her deposition, Diane Sawyer admitted that she would not have made that edit.

Tilton's Criminal Connection

Gordon juxtaposed photos of Tilton and S&L fraudster Herman Beebe while Sawyer said that by 1981, he [Tilton] had hit the big time. How? PrimeTime has learned that for several years, Tilton courted a man news accounts have tied to organized crime and drug smuggling, Herman Beebe, a financier whose banks gave Tilton a $1.3 million loan

Wow, it comes off like Tilton was hobnobbing with the Mafia. It's all truebut unfair. Take out all the hyperbole, and what's left is that Tilton's church got a $1.3 million loan to build a sanctuary. The loan was paid off several years laterbefore Beebe was convicted of bank fraud in the S&L scandal. Thousands of people borrowed money from banks owned by Beebe and other crooks. Does that tie them to organized crime and drug smuggling?

Water From the River Jordan

Gordon's hidden-camera footage was sliced and diced to make it appear as if Moore of Response Media is saying that the gimmicky stuff in Tilton's mailings, including vials containing water from the River Jordan, comes from that holy place, Taiwan. If true, that meant Tilton could be charged with mail fraud.

But Moore never said that. He was answering Gordon's question about where they obtained gimmicky items included in mailings for American Express and Six Flags as well as preachers. On the raw footage, Gordon says she didn't feel like we've got him nailed right now and that she really wanted him to say that stuff is not from the River Jordan. Tilton produced receipts showing the water did come from the River Jordan. Lot of good that holy water did him.

Maybe the hand of the Lord was with the dumpster-divers after all, says Lumbley, who now runs a Web site called apostasywatch. God was using Ole and ABC to chastise Tilton and bring him down, he says. Thanks to PrimeTime, Tilton's ministry collapsedbut he's still around. Married to his third wife, Tilton now is preaching prosperity on BET, still using prayer gimmicks. Caveat emptor. Glenna Whitley



4:43 pm
5 Comments
Deconstructing Prime Time's sleazy methodology is much more interesting than all the soap opera stuff about Trinity in the actual cover story. Keep the Robert Tilton files going!

Comment by Bro Randall August 8, 2006 @ 6:08 pm | Excellent, classic journalism. More importantly than (partially) absolving Tilton, you're exposing the biased misdeeds of a powerful facet of your own industry. Very good work, worthy of national attention.

Comment by Wayne August 9, 2006 @ 4:50 pm |

Robert Tilton has done some great things for Christians and non-Christians. I hope he is okay and not bitter at his enemies. I still haven't received any recent information on his whereabouts or spiritual condition. Can someone out there provide current news instead of old stinking garbage from years ago?

Comment by James Dohr August 14, 2006 @ 12:52 am

Steve Lumbley uses material from the Dallas Observer
for news content? Why not post from the National
Enquirer? Or some other reputable tabloid. As if they
told the truth. America is in a state today where most
news sources could be called into question for what they
report. Robert Tilton stole from widows and other ignorant people through manipulation. And Steve Lumbley
helped him. Praise God that people can grow and learn
from their mistakes.

Comment by Dale August 19, 2006 @ 3:40 pm |


Thank you Mr. McElroy for showing yourself to be an accuser of the brethren. Yes, I worked for Robert Tilton during the early 90's. And yes I have publically ackowledged and repented of my involvement in that. I have in no way hidden that from anyone. I have this information on my website. The Lord has forgiven me and has said the he will remember my sins no more (Heb 10:17).

Perhaps you didn't see this quote from me in the article:

I'm not defending Bob in any way, says Steve Lumbley, who worked with Tilton's Word of Faith Outreach prayer ministry in 1991. The mailings all had some kind of gimmick. They weren't godly at all. But the primary allegation that came out of thatthat prayer requests were thrown awaywas categorically untrue, and I can guarantee you that was not a normal practice.

Now I call on you to repent of your involvement with the admitted adulterer Doyle Davidson who you seem to insist on defending despite his continued public pursuit of another mans wife.

Comment by Steve Lumbley August 21, 2006 @ 1:01 pm |

SO MUCH FOR THE MEDIA REPORTS ON WHAT RIP-OFF ROB is doing these days in the name of the Lord. Of course, I think he is calling himself that title. He could probably by a lot of titles for himself with just his "chump change."

It ought to be illegal for televangelists to be able to solicit money and con the ignorant, hopeful, aged, young and desparate unless they undergo crucifixion themselves, die and come back alive after three days interment.

I would give them a couple of dollars for that myself!
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#3 Consumer Comment

Second Wife

AUTHOR: J - (U.S.A.)

His second wife was a Valentine. I think it was Karen Valentine. They divorced when he joined the cult of "shouters" who shout the devil out of people, especially children.

She tried to get the house in the divorce but it belonged to the church. She can be seen on "paid programming" hawking some anti-aging cream.

That miserable sob kept sending my mother requests for money after she called and asked for prayer with her diabetes. She lost her leg anyway and then her life. Even after that, the dreaded Hinn had people calling the house for her.

When I would explain that she had passed, they wanted me to send money. One day, I just wasn't in the mood for them. I used a lot of ugly words that day and meant all of them.

If you feel the need to spend money on religion, take it to your local church, whatever denomination. At least your local reverend will visit if you are ill and preach your funeral if he has to.

You can't get into heaven on the coat tails of a tv preacher. The only tv preacher who will ever see glory is Billy Graham.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Televangelists Nowadays are Allmost All Rip-Offs

AUTHOR: Helene - (U.S.A.)

Bennie Hinn isn't anything compared to Robert Tilton in the 1980s who was a televangelist in Dallas, TX although I think his compound was in Farmers Branch, TX which might as well be Dallas,TX.

I had friends who claimed to have worked security for Mr. Tilton and that meant making sure the huge plastic "slop" buckets got through the masses and to the armored cars out back. Some days they could barely lift the money.

Those white plastic slop buckets much have been an inspiration from "Brother Terrell" another pseudo religious con guy whose services I actually attended ONCE ( and put a beer bottle cap in wrapped in a note that told him he needed to stop fooling the poor people.)

Tilton knew how to keep his hysterical and non-thinking, non-critial followers stuffing those slop buckets with their hard-earned cash and one who was so was reportedly so desparate she allegedly embezzled hundreds to give to him. I don't think he had to pay it back either! Somehow I think they kept that one out of the papers.

These gullible but well-meaing, ignorant sheeple were desparate for those sham "cures" and fake miracles and easy money that would fall like manna when you cast your bread upon the waters ---they gave millions upon millions and old Robert lived well. Incredibly well.

He had an in-house band on Sunday that would whip those sheeple into a frenzy at every opportunity and the Kleenexes would come out and the bawling and wailing and babbling would start and the dollars would be shaken loose and the slop buckets would make still another round and I guess services went on untl nobody had anything else left to put in there.

I think the band would play and the buckets were passed. The video was then beamed in to the auditorium and some older guy in mostly black asked the people to prove how much they loved the Tiltons and how much they loved Jeeeeeessssuuuuuuuuuuuuuus by giving everything they had, all the money in their pockets and in their purses to "the Lord" and His Work. (He wasn't very specific about which "Lord" he meant.) People would flop around and babble and then the slop buckets made the rounds again and then the band would play and someone would sing and the buckets woudl go around again,. I dont' know what happened next because, it never failed, that is when I would leave, feeling disgusted.

I never heard the man "preach" in person. I did see plenty of video images of him and his wife of the moment allegedly being broadcast live by satellite from exotic far off locations where he claimed to be bringing JEEESSSSUSSSS to the heathern foreigners but to me it looked more like the sheeple back home were subsidizing one heck of a free-wheeling lifestyle.

They used to have closed events for visiting televangelists at the Farmers Branch compound and the names and what they did there behind closed doors with security making sure that none of the sheeple saw how their idols REALLY lived which probably would have shocked you -- or not. Big donors got to press the flesh with the visitors and probably a lot more... They ate prime rib and drank premium liquor while their followers were urged to fast or make do with bread and water. Hey, even JEESSSSSSUUUUUUUUUS got to eat fish with His bread!

The books "Elmer Gantry" and "The Da Vinci Code" come to mind.

It was the unpleasant job of the security to turn away the sheeple who had spend all of their money on the ridiculious promises of miracles because JEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUS truly loved them and wanted them to give their money to him, Tilton,Jesus' business representative??!!! The widow's mite might have made inspiring Christian Bible reading but Tilton did not want it happening in his place of "worship."

The desparate, penniless people would sometimes show up as an embarrassment to beg and plead for something to eat, anything to eat, a place to stay because they had given him all their money and no miracles had happened as promised. It was security's guard to keep those away from the faithful who still had plenty of money for JEEEEEEEEEEEEESUUUUUUUUUS! Even worse, the hungry, broke and destitute rabble would attempt to come by his multimillion dollar house. The house that was supposed to be his looked as phoney and superficial and gaudy and vulgarly nouveaus riche as he did...
I think he preferred spending time at the Farmer Branch compound instead because there was better security and he was afraid that one of those fanatical, now homeless people might realize eventually they had been duped and lay hands upon him! Rather hostile hands...

His first wife spilled some of the beans on him. I guess he was offering "miracle cures and maritial counselling" when he snagged the other wife. Nobody paid much attention to the first Mrs. Tilton at first, after all " a woman scorned..." but when my friends saw how much damage uncontrolled religious fanaticism could do and how people would spend their last cent hoping for a miracle and then go and beg, borrow or steal more to give to this man because their promised miracle had not happened, something had to be done.

A telephone call was made and TV reporters and other members of the press found the DUMPSTER where ALL the written prayers Tilton so piously solicited were discarded! The same ones that Mr. Tilton claimed to pray over so sincerely and miracles would happen. Guaranteed. Fact was, if your prayer was unaccompanied by a donation, it went straight to the dumpster!

For minimum wage, I understand that the grim, emaciated " prayer sisters" with no makeup and pinned up long hair and long dresses would slice open the envelopes and remove cash like oyster shuckers when they weren't answering the "prayer lines" where callers were encouraged and pressured to make still more donations. I think the sisters thought that the security people who were taking the opened envelopes to Mr. Tilton in person so he could pray over them. He was preying, OK.

Huge mailbags bursting with the pathetic prayer requests came daily and compared with what he made in his religious services and some merchandise at the Farmers Branch location, he was raking in tons of money --ALL TAX-FREE! The news media folks were sick at heart and so was I when I heard about it. I don't think any of us were surprised. Televangelism fraud has a long history in the pious Southern United States!

It must have been too heart-breaking for my friend in security to go on. He never said what all he witnessed in there but he got tired of seeing tired eyed, worn-out poverty stricken people giving all their cash to that fat, sleek televangelist fraud in his obscenely expensive clothes and slicked back pompador hair and his sleek,smug wife.

In their sect of Christianity, people with lots of disposable income are considered blessed by JEEEEEEEESSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUUS and poor people are considered accursed and their poverty contagious and a reminder of what will happen to you if you don't put your money in those white plastic slop buckets every time the "church" doors are open.

I think either the first Mrs. Tilton or one of the security people probably tipped the news media as to where the fervent prayers from ardent followers REALLY went and then the hounds from hell were turned loose on Tilton.

I can't remember what happened to Tilton and his second wife ( who probably divorced him;cockroaches tend to run from the light of public disclosure!) but televangelists scamming from the desparate, poor and ignorant is nothing new at all especially in the Bible Belt.

Perhaps Mr. Tilton repented of what he had done. But since preaching the Prosperity Gospel, as he liked to jokingly refer to it in private, according to the security people I knew, sure beats an honest day's work, I guess he is probably back in business in another state. I think the people got wise to him in Texas.

( He has indeed spun his web for the unwary in Florida!) Most of my security acquaintances converted to Judaism and several of them have sons now studying to be a orthodox Jewish rabbis at a yeshiva in Israel.

I have made it my life's mission NEVER send anything to a televangelist!
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