Church Faces Lawsuit for Misappropriation of Funds

( – A new federal lawsuit filed on October 31st argues that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church, misused donations by three individuals who were told the money would go to charity. The church used the funds to invest instead.

The Utah-based faith tithes its members 10% of their income which gives them vast financial holdings, and their status as a faith means they don’t have to file public disclosures about their finances.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that their case is similar to that of James Huntsman who is suing the church for the return of a $5 million donation he made before leaving.

The LDS church was fined in February by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the same amount, $5 million for their use of shell corporations to conceal their financial holdings. No comment has been forthcoming from LDS church representatives regarding the latest lawsuit.

The church has previously defended itself by claiming donations go to a large variety of purposes that support the church. These include construction projects, missionary adventures, and humanitarian relief.

The investment of the capital instead of directly spending it on projects is the focus of both lawsuits. The Corporation of the President of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the corporate wing of the church empire and they also take donations to fund ‘humanitarian work’ but the latest lawsuit says they’re lying about how the money is being used.

Plaintiffs argue that possibly all of their charitable donations are being invested in the financial markets instead of spent on charitable causes. They’re arguing that the money collected by the 10% tithe is going into investment accounts which are never used for charity via “Ensign Peak Advisors” another LDS shell entity. They also claim there could be as much as $100 billion in their accounts.

The lawsuit from Masen Christensen, Daniel Chappell, and John Oaks argues that their donations over the last decade total approximately $350,000. They’re attempting to get certified as a class-action which could involve anyone who’s given money to the church.

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