Televangelist Pastor Robert J. Freeman Sentenced To Two Years In Jail For Using Church Funds
Robert J. Freeman, former Pastor and Televangelist of Save the Seed Ministry in Waldorf, MD, was sentenced to 27 months in prison yesterday afternoon for a related Bankruptcy case. Freeman, who is 56 and a former drug-addict, often referred to himself as “God’s Top Gun of Deliverance” and built his career after being saved in 1988. When speaking in court, Freeman said:
“I did all this publicly,” Freeman told the judge in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. “There wasn’t nothing shady about it.”
What he did however, was super shady and makes us ask What the hell was he thinking?
You see, Dr. Shine had to plead guilty in U.S. District Court for obstructing bankruptcy court proceedings because he hid assets purchased with church funds, including a $1.75 million waterfront mansion, a fleet of luxury cars, and a private jet. And he didn’t just use church funds; he had willing congregation members make most of the purchases for him in their name.
Among the facts agreed to in Freeman’s plea agreement were that in 2002 he had two Lincoln Town Cars purchased in the name of church members for more than $55,000. In 2003, he had a Mercedes-Benz bought in the name of another church member for nearly $40,000 and then in 2004 bought his 9,000-square-foot mansion on Rivers Edge Place in the name of another church member. The mansion included a deep-water pier, 20,000-pound covered boat lift, personal watercraft lift, two four-car garages, five fireplaces and a gym complete with a steam room.
The binge did not end there, and in 2004 Freeman had two Volkswagen Phaetons purchased in the name of church members for more than $140,000. He bought a Bentley Arnage and a Maybach for more than $340,000 in 2005 and another Mercedes-Benz for more than $68,000 in 2006, all in the name of the same church member, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
By October 2005, Freeman and his wife owed debts totaling more than $1.3 million, including $846,000 in back rent, more than $87,000 in lease payments on a jet airplane, more than $160,000 for musical instruments and $220,000 in loan payments on a bus, according to court documents…The bankruptcy court granted Freeman a discharge from his debts in March 2006, after which he bought three Mercedes-Benz cars and a Lincoln Navigator totaling more than $430,000, again in a church member’s name, according to court documents.
When the church and the Freemans could not cover the bills, many of the members were left in default on loans and in some instances, lost their homes and jobs. District Judge Roger W. Titus has ordered Mr. Freeman to pay back roughly $630,000 to four members of the church who took out loans and said “The essence of this crime was taking advantage of unwitting people.”
During his testimony, Dr. Shine blamed predatory lenders, the economy and his sixth-grade education for his financial undoing. The mansion, he said, was the “pastor’s residence but also was a retreat and conference center.” He also claimed the cars were used by church leaders. We’d like to know what church gives its leaders options to drive a Bentley Arnage or a Maybach to drive and whether or not anyone of these so-called leaders had a second thought or talked to God before they got behind the wheel?