The Scientology Money Project

Florida Church Refuses to Give Back Millions of Dollars Donated by a Ponzi Scheme

With GPB Capital Holdings looking more and more like a Ponzi scheme about to collapse under the legal onslaught of a Federal criminal investigation and numerous lawsuits, many people have asked us what will happen to any GPB funds donated to the Church of Scientology by GPB owner and Scientologist David Gentile.

We have found the likely answer in a very current legal case involving a Ponzi scheme and a Florida church. According to court documents, Jose Angel Aman operated a diamond and cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme in Palm Beach, Florida for several years. His accomplice was the well-known Canadian financial commentator Harold Seigel.  From the Wall Street Journal edition of May 22, 2019:

U.S. regulators have halted an alleged $30 million Ponzi scheme that targeted roughly 300 investors and involved a diamond-related cryptocurrency business, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

The SEC said Tuesday that Argyle Coin LLC, a Palm Beach, Fla., company that says it offers investment in cryptocurrency backed by valuable diamonds, and its principal, Jose Angel Aman, were using investor funds to run a Ponzi scheme, according to a statement from the agency.

Investigators discovered that Aman had donated $1.7 million of his illicitly-obtained money to the Winners Church of West Palm Beach where he is a member. Authorities asked for the money to be returned to the victims compensation fund. Shockingly, but not surprisingly, the Winners Church refused to hand over the money that had been scammed by parishioner Jose Aman. This report is from the Palm Beach Post of May 24, 2019:

WEST PALM BEACH – Calling it “God’s blessings,” the pastor of a suburban West Palm Beach church on Thursday refused to turn over $1.7 million that financial regulators claim rightfully belongs to people who were ensnared in a $30 million Ponzi scheme.

A federal judge has temporarily frozen the accounts of Winners Church and its top pastors, Fred and Whitney Shipman. In an unusual move, the father and son leaders of the 25-year-old Jog Road church are fighting efforts that would allow the money to be returned to hundreds of people who were lured into a far-flung diamond and bitcoin investment scam…

Attorney Carl Schoeppl, who is representing the church and the Shipmans, claims the church can’t be forced to turn over the money because it’s a nonprofit religious institution.

It is protected by a Florida law that dictates that a donation “received in good faith by a qualified religious or charitable entity or organization is not a fraudulent transfer.” Since neither the church nor the Shipmans knew about Aman’s illicit operation they can keep the money, Schoeppl told Rosenberg.

Bishop Fred Shipman and his son Pastor Whitney Shipman of Winners Church, a 3,000 member megachurch, told the victims of parishioner Aman’s Ponzi scheme to go to hell. The Shipmans said the stolen money was God’s blessing and, under Florida law, they had every right to keep the loot. That these two hypocrites and Pharisees wanted to keep the stolen money for themselves evokes Ambrose Bierce’s definition of a Christian:

Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

The United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, stepped in and shut down the party for the Shipmans. The Court ordered the Shipmans and their Winners Church to disgorge the Ponzi scheme funds. The Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law issued by the court makes for fascinating reading. It also shows us what we may expect to happen with any GPB Capital funds donated to the Church of Scientology.

Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

Bishop Fred “I’m Keeping the Money” Shipman at work:

3 replies »

  1. This is Great! With:
    . the rise of ‘nones’ and atheists in the us,
    . claims being made against religion/cults (i.e., the catholic church, jw’s, $cientology,
    the mormons, etc.) worldwide,
    . Trump being deposed amidst criminal charges and as well as charges of cultish behavior/
    and the efforts of activists such as yourself, atheist organizations, religious apostates, etal., the time is ripe for sweeping legislative and judicial changes to be made within the realm of ‘religious privilege’.

    So Be It!

  2. Scientology doesn’t believe in Christianity or a creator. Christian Science sees God as the sole creator, whereas in Scientology the “thetan,” the person fully free from an imprisoned life, is a creator. The Church of Scientology states that you do not have to give up your Christianity or faith in any other religion.

  3. Keith wrote: “The Church of Scientology states that you do not have to give up your Christianity or faith in any other religion.”

    This is Scientology PR line, and, it is a lie. In its 1992 application for 501(c)3 tax exemption, the Church of Scientology told the IRS that Scientologists are expected to abandon their faith and practice Scientology exclusively:

    “Although there is no policy or Scriptural mandate expressly requiring Scientologists to renounce other religious beliefs or membership in other churches, as a practical matter Scientologists are expected to and do become fully devoted to Scientology to the exclusion of other faiths. As Scientologists, they are required to look only to Scientology Scriptures for the answers to the fundamental questions of their existence and to seek enlightenment only from Scientology. Thus, a Scientologist who grew up in the Jewish faith who continues formal membership in his synagogue and attends services with his family violates no Scientology policy or tenet. On the other hand, such a person is not permitted to mix the practice of his former faith into his practice and understanding of Scientology so as to alter orthodox Scientology in any way.”

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