LGBT-hating televangelist charged with fraud and tax evasion

12th May 2017

It’s unlikely that the taxman is a believer in karma, but some stories do suggest that this might be the case.

Earlier this month, televangelist, Reverend Benny Hinn faced the wrath of the IRS after his Texas offices were raided by investigators. As an agent told waiting reporters, “We are primarily investigating Title 26, which is tax evasion and general fraud against the government.”

Gulfstream jet funding

Hinn made headlines in 1995 after stating that God would destroy the LGBT community and has also claimed that homosexuality is caused by fathers who didn’t hug their sons. He linked being gay to “perversion” and criticised religious figures who didn’t join him in saying homosexuality is a sin. In addition, he has also become widely known for using donations to fund personal vacations on the ministry’s GulfStream G4SP jet, highlighting the lack of financial oversight by its board, which is mainly comprised of Hinn’s family members and friends.

Healing hands

Hinn has been preaching since the 1970s and claims to have healing powers that can cure blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS and other maladies. However, a 2004 documentary found that those ‘healed’ by the Reverend were handpicked from the crowd with others such as UK evangelist and cerebral palsy sufferer, Justin Peters, being reported as saying, “It’s always somebody who has some disability or diseases that cannot be readily seen.”

Whether Hinn really does have healing powers is neither here nor there and it wasn’t his heavenly properties that led to the IRS investigation. An initial inquiry started in 2007 with the Pastor asked to divulge his financial records to the Senate Finance Committee. It concluded in 2011 with no findings of wrongdoing, although the aforementioned concerns over mismanagement of funds were raised once again. However, this new investigation and arrest has led to beliefs that Hinn has been breaking the law and not disclosing his full earnings. He was unable for comment at the time of the charges and is now believed to be in France.

Regardless of the strength of your network or if you’ve got away with it in the past, the net really is closing in on tax evaders wherever they’re operating. Hinn’s charges highlight that no one is safe and the taxman will chase down anyone suspected to be avoiding paying the appropriate rates of taxation. If you’re at all unsure about your status, and want to avoid the types of fines and potential prison sentences that Hinn is now facing, partner with a specialist before it’s too late.

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