A lawsuit has been filed against one of the largest U.S.-based missions groups, alleging fraud and "covertly diverting" millions of dollars in contributions.
In October, Gospel for Asia lost its accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability on the basis of using money donated for a specific cause for other purposes, including its new headquarters east of Dallas. Now the Dallas-based Stanley Law Group has filed suit in federal court in part based on RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), the civil racketeering law.
Read the complete lawsuit: Dickson v. Gospel for Asia
Martin Woodward, one of the attorneys on the case, spoke with OneNewsNow.
"In this case, if Gospel for Asia was falsely promising things and using the United States mails to do it, that predicate act may support a civil RICO claim, like we've alleged in the lawsuit," he explains.
The lawsuit also alleges Gospel for Asia used part of the money for for-profit businesses in India – a school and a medical school. It also contends that out of $90 million collected from U.S. contributors in 2013, only $14.5 million was spent on services in India – meaning the rest has yet to be accounted for.
Woodward says his clients are asking the court to stop GFA from making promises to donors that it doesn't keep. "... And we'd like the court to order Gospel for Asia to return money to our clients that it did not spend as our clients ... directed Gospel for Asia to do, based on what Gospel for Asia specifically promised them," he adds.
Attorneys are asking for class-action designation for the lawsuit.
Requests from OneNewsNow to GFA for an interview have so far gone unanswered.