LDS Church being sued for tithing paid by suspected fraudster

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  • Kimball Woodruff
    Aug. 10, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    Question: why are these shysters paying tithing on their loot?

    Answer: Affinity fraud includes investment frauds that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious communities. It's all part of the con.

  • TJ Banks
    Aug. 9, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    Having known some people who invested in these Ponzi schemes, I'm not sure that they thought that the plan was dishonest. They thought it was a new way of thinking about money, a new way of investing. You refinance your house, give the money and the control of your money to me, and I will pay you bits and pieces each month with a promised high rate of interest. If you like, you may reinvest this money into the company too. These plans were presented with a film about money and with a book. Sounded fishy to me, but maybe they were stuck on stupid and thought they were just doing business and would pay tithing on the business. It is laughable now to think they would be so foolish, but also tragic for the families who lost so much...they lost money, cars, houses and some had to declare bankruptcy. I think the head guy knew what he was doing, but not sure about the underlings.

  • very concerned
    Aug. 9, 2010 9:24 a.m.

    I applaud the church's attitude of not keeping ill-gotten gains. To me it is a matter of principles to the church, in which they are courageously stepping up to the plate to return money, without fanfare or patting themselves on the back.

    At least that's how I read the story, especially the last paragraph.

    And about disclosing church finances. I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that would be a huge invasion of privacy for any traditional charity or non-profit institution. Yes the church brings in millions of dollars, but over the years, I have seen a constant concerted effort to avoid or punish fraud.

    And the church does far more than build temples and send relief to trouble spots worldwide. For instance, decades ago I heard that the church was building a new church-house every day (read into that big $$$). Also, most of the church assets are income-consuming rather than income-producing.

    But I am very sorry that some people may have had what to them seemed a bad experience with the church financially. All I know is that there are always two sides to every story.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Aug. 7, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    Pete in Texas,
    In addition to costs of maintenance and upkeep the Church periodically spends money on major renovations of buildings, I say this sitting in a building that just completed a major renovation with new roof, new airconditioning units, organ consul repair and some other improvements.

    The Church also uses tithing money to print manuals, operate schools as well as seminary and institutes, build and maintain temples and other such things.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Aug. 7, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    You may be on to something. If the guy does not pay tithing, he cannot have a temple recomend. He may just happen to drop it in meetings with clients so they just happen to see what an upstanding and good person he is.

    OK, so he would not be "honest in all his doings" either, but if you do not pay tithing but drive a nice car and live in a nice house things are suspicious.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Aug. 7, 2010 10:12 a.m.

    Because of centralized collection and redistribution to the nearly 30,000 congregations the Church is less likely to be seriously hurt by bankruptcy law recoveries, but more likely to have such stories make the news.

    It is Southern baptists churches, which are each independent congregations, and non-denominational Churches that could really be hurt. If you have only 100 people in your congregation, and the biggest donator is either a ponzi schemer or have reved up donations before bankruptcy than you have a problem on your hands if you suddenly are forced to turn over the large money, especially if that constituted 40% of your renovation budget, or maybe you will have to fire the organist and go back to singing a capella.

  • daizy
    Aug. 7, 2010 10:11 a.m.

    To Tim Rollins and happy camper, I too agree with both of you, but please don't forget the neighbors who are also a huge N-O to keep business at a distance.

    I'm sure the church will work things out on this unfortunate situation.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Aug. 7, 2010 10:08 a.m.

    Cubicle Dweller,
    The issue is more complexed.
    Current law says that donations to a Church by someone who goes into bankruptcy are exempted from recovery if they are in line with the person's previous activity.

    This is a slightly different issue since actual crime is involved, but if the Church wanted to fight they might be able to keep the money.

    If you have been a tithe payer your whole life, than your creditors can not recover your tithing for the year before you go bankrupt. On the other hand, if you just start paying tithing in the year before you go bankrupt it is recoverable. The one flaw is that the law assumes if you do the later you were attempting to defraud, when maybe in fact you just joined the Church or something else. However, it is too hard to judge actual intent so for us mortals the current law works.

    I think though if you regularly paid tithing and fast offerings, but in the last year double fast offerings and start major donations to the missionary fund, the excess from previous levels could be recovered.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Aug. 7, 2010 9:51 a.m.

    I would urge people to read the whole article before commenting.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has in an out-of-court settlement in the past returned money, and it is against Church policy to accept tithing from ill-gotten gains.

    Of course they do not ask you "was this money recieved legally" when you turn in tithing, but if your source is known to be illegal activity or lottery winnings, it will not be accepted.

  • JeffreyD
    Aug. 7, 2010 4:20 a.m.

    @Cubicle Dweller:

    I'd like to offer a correction relative to your comments on tithing in bankrutcy situations.

    The Religious Liberty and Charitable Donations Protection Act of 1998 made clear that charitable donations (including tithing) were to be exempt from recovery by creditors and that Chapter 13 filers could continue to make such donations while paying creditors off by their payment schedule.

    After the revisions to the Bankruptcy code in 2005, a New york bankrutcy judge interpreted the new provisions to mean that Chapter 13 filers making above the median income could not pay tithing and that previous donations could be recovered.

    Congress disagreed with that interpretation of the act that they themselves had just passed and immediately passed the Religious Liberty and Charitable Donation Clarification Act of 2006 making clear that Bankruptcy laws allow a debtor to make charitable donations and a charity to keep donated gifts, as long as the donations are not a deliberate attempt to avoid your creditors.

    How is "deliberate attempt" evaluated? As long as you've been a regular contributor prior to the bankrutcy, you're okay. If not, be prepared for the trustee to contest your last minute charitable intent.

    Hope this helps.

  • Al Thepal
    Aug. 7, 2010 12:08 a.m.

    To those complaining about the lawyer suing The LDS Church: The Church wants to return the money because it was paid by a man who obtained it illegally. IT will probably be settled out of court for the full amount, and because a lawsuit was filed, the Church will have an official record of having returned it. So it is not unfair to the Church in anyway.

    To those stereotyping LDS people and/or Utahns based off of this: The vast majority of Mormons are not stupid enough to fall for ponzi schemes, and a very very small minority use illegal business practices. Most are both honest and smart in their dealings with others. I am a completely active Mormon, fully immersed in my Church callings, and still have found time to learn how to be smart in financial and other secular things.

  • Duh
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:19 p.m.

    There are some people on this blog who need to take a chill pill.

    Simply put, the man commited a crime, people lost money because of it and the church will do the right thing and reimburse what was paid in tithing. It is the right thing to do, period. Too much boo ha ha over a simple solution. This article serves no purpose.

  • Alaska
    Aug. 6, 2010 6:39 p.m.

    How disgusting to have a case brought demanding a refund after someone voluntarily contributed to a church! No church official stops each person at the door to inquire about the sources of any money tossed into the collection plate or received in a donation envelope!

    IF person is convicted of a crime and recovery of money from a theft, robbery etc. is desired, simple courtesy is to speak with the recipient instead of filing litigation! The Church is not the thief or an enemy! It gives a sour taste just considering the rude approach of it.

    In 2010 will every charitable donation be scrutinized, every Heart Fund, or Cancer Research donation?

    The Church politely refuses money from disreputable sources, but litigation demanding it is despicable!

  • 1happycamper
    Aug. 6, 2010 6:09 p.m.

    I agree, DO NOT do business with ward members PERIOD! Its risky business when things go wrong and a ward member decides to go around slandering you because they didn't get their way with you, and they go around telling many awful lies about you to others. Even if they ask for your FREE help HUH! you MUST humbly turn away and send them packing in a generous way. Ward members are double the trouble and its much better for them to take their needs else where. Avoid them as you will be better off in the long run...CHEERS!

  • Tim Rollins
    Aug. 6, 2010 5:36 p.m.

    Call me Utah Escapee if you want...the term fits, and with each Ponzi scheme that reinforces my negative opinion, I am even more justified in reminding the sheople YET AGAIN (26 YEARS NOW) of my ABSOLUTE longstanding rule: DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH MEMBERS OF EITHER YOUR WARD OR STAKE. You have to live with these people, and if the deal goes south, you have only yourself to blame. Were I in Utah, on this score, I would only do financial investment business with NON-MEMBERS (as in never been members).

    When investing, only invest with BONDED AND LICENSED professionals. if the rates of return seem too good to be true, it's not that they usually are; it's that they ALWAYS (99.9999%) ARE.

    Friendships in today's world are fragile enough as they are already. Stick to the professionals, and whatever you do, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!

  • Soul
    Aug. 6, 2010 5:24 p.m.

    "In the lawsuit, Jenkins said his appointment allows him to take control of all of the assets of Hall's company, RCH2, including taking court action to recover those assets."

    Jenkins should be true to his appointment and sue all organizations that did business with RCH2 (every last one) to recover lost assets, NOT just the LDS Church which unknowingly received Jenkins dirty donation.

    I wonder whether we will ever hear from Jenkin after this legal action against the LDS Church.

  • montare
    Aug. 6, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    @CougarKeith Read the article. The dude who paid the tithing isn't asking for it back, his creditors are. It's a normal part of bankruptcy; my company is being sued the same way right now, though as others pointed out it's hardly a suit, just a formality of bankruptcy rules.

  • CougarKeith
    Aug. 6, 2010 3:11 p.m.

    Asking for a "Tithing Refund"? What is that? That is stupidly insane! Anyone that wants "Tithing Refunded" will get back the Blackness of that ANTI-Blessing 10 fold! That person will squander the money, and will die poor, and a broken person. It is just the way it works! You don't tell God you want your money back, it's His to begin with!!! The Lord Giveth and The Lord Shall Taketh Away! What kind of person pays tithing, then asks for their money back? That is just whacked!

  • jedro
    Aug. 6, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    Sorry- That should be Darren Palmer.

  • jedro
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    Here in Idaho Falls there is the same situation with the David Palmer Ponzi Scheme. The court appointed official is trying to get the Tithing money returned to the creditors. I think that is about 180-200,000 Dollars.

  • Sarah B
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:25 p.m.

    I was always told never invest more than you can afford to lose. I'm glad the Church is returning the money and I hope the scammer gets appropriate punishment. However, it really bothers me when greedy, naive people stupidly invest huge amounts of money and then cry victim. Do your homework and know what you're doing. Any investment, legitimate or not, is a gamble.

  • mo no more
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:08 p.m.

    Since when don't they take tithing money from gambling winings? They took it from my family in the 70's' and 80s.

  • K
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:03 p.m.

    Did he pay the tithe before he was in legally obligated to turn over assets?

  • goforward
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:02 p.m.

    @ungewiss, you're mistaken if you don't think they pay taxes on their business operations. They pay plenty, just like most everyone else does. They also pay sales taxes on items purchased and payroll taxes for those who are employed. If you believe the charitable side of the church should be taxed, then I assume you are asking all churches, charities and non-profit organizations (ie: Schools, NAACP, Red Cross, etc.) to pay taxes on the monies donated to them also! Then, when many of these organizations fold due to lack of funds to help others out, people can just go to our government and ask for handouts. Because we all know that the government will take care of those in need better then anyone else can with our tax dollars.

  • Moracle
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:00 p.m.

    1st: Bishops encourage members in need, to pay tithing, because it brings blessings to them by doing so, and no one needs blessing more than a family without food or shelter.

    2nd: After paying tithing, if the person doesn't have enough to meet basic needs, the Bishop can write a check out of the Fast Offering fund of the Church, to cover those basics. This way, the person has the advantage of the Lord's blesssings; and basic needs are met through the welfare program of the Church.

    3rd: In response to: Why would a theif pay tithing? I think the answer to that lies in the same category as that of a smoker who does not also drink alcohol. Just because we are weak in one area, doesn't mean that we should therefore transgress in areas we still have control over. Just because he broke the commanment to not steal, doesn't mean he would automatically stop paying his tithing. In his erroneous thinking, he probably saw his booty as an "increase", to be tithed.

  • Pagan
    Aug. 6, 2010 1:26 p.m.

    Mormon Church agrees to pay small fine for mistake that led to late report of contributions in Prop. 8 campaign - By Scott Taylor — DSNews — 06/09/10

    ‘Acknowledging tardy reporting of in-kind campaign contributions in the final weeks before the November 2008 passage of California's Proposition 8, the LDS Church has agreed with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission to pay a minor $5,000 fine.
    As the state agency for interpreting and enforcing California's campaign finance rules, the FPPC identified 13 instances of "nonmonetary late contributions made and not timely reported" – or the church failing to file daily reports detailing $36,928...'

  • micawber
    Aug. 6, 2010 1:23 p.m.

    Lon Jenkins appears to be acting appropriately here. Given the time frame, he probably needed to file suit to comply with the statute of limitations. And the Church may want to wait until Mr. Hall is convicted (or there is a civil judgment against him), before returning the money. But I expect this will be resolved without much rancor.

  • goforward
    Aug. 6, 2010 1:13 p.m.

    Hey ungewiss,

    Taxes were paid on the monies before they were donated. How much taxes do you want people to pay anyways? By the way, do you pay your fair share of taxes to society?

  • Cubicle Dweller
    Aug. 6, 2010 12:51 p.m.

    Everyone is missing the point in this matter. The fact that the money was fraudulently obtained is totally irrelevant. The only important facts are that the man owed money to creditors and that he gave the money to the church instead of paying his creditors. Once someone goes into bankcruptcy, the court trustee has an obligation to seek out assets that were recently given away instead of going to creditors. In this situation, because the church gave no consideration for the money, then it must be returned to the bankruptcy estate to be disbursed to creditors. People of faith will suggest that there are benefits to paying tithing, but that is not something that the courts will ever accept.

  • ungewiss
    Aug. 6, 2010 12:43 p.m.

    @goforward The money I spend at the store was taxed before I spent it, too, but the store still pays taxes on their revenue. If an organization behaves like a business, they should be taxed like a business.

  • Dave from Taylorsville
    Aug. 6, 2010 12:39 p.m.

    Rox | 7:43 a.m. Aug. 6, 2010

    Your dad didn't get it, and neither do you. . . to this day.

  • hatuletoh
    Aug. 6, 2010 12:10 p.m.

    "42istheanswer", et al: I actually know Lon (the lawyer) and a little about this case. The lawsuit was a necesary formality that will provide documentation and show, should the question arise later, that he did due dilligence and that the sum returned was the correct figure. In other words, the lawsuit is a formality because this is the type of situation that can't be handled with a handshake and a good word.

    He was in contact with LDS church officials through the process, and they were fully aware that the suit would be filed. As I understand, they plan to return the full amount. Notice how there was no quote from a church official expressing surprise and/or indignation. This piece is a bit mis-leading in that it doesn't explain that the lawsuit isn't contentious, it's simply what a lawyer does to ensure his clients are fairly represented, and a paper-trail is created to show both he and the church acted in good faith.

  • goforward
    Aug. 6, 2010 12:08 p.m.

    Hey ungewiss,

    Taxes were paid on the monies before they were donated. How much taxes do you want people to pay anyways? By the way, do you pay your fair share of taxes to society?

  • Third try screen name
    Aug. 6, 2010 11:51 a.m.

    Since when is charitable contribution considered and asset?

    Once you make the donation you no longer control it.

  • AmericanPatriot
    Aug. 6, 2010 11:44 a.m.


  • P
    Aug. 6, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    I critize the media ! If contact had been made and the Church had argued about it (maybe they will) there might be a story, but I don't think so now,

    @"Iggle | 8:33 a.m. Aug. 6, 2010
    Don't be too quick to condemn this lawyer. Sometimes a lawsuit is a necessary formality in a process like this. He may just be taking the appropriate legal steps and not attacking the church per se."

    @"Woody | 9:10 a.m. Aug. 6, 2010
    Attempting to recover the money is appropriate. If it was stolen, then I am sure the Church wants nothing to do with it.

    What concerns me is how this became a news story. If a reported stumbled on a court filing, that is one thing. If the lawyer was calling press oonferences and trying the case outside the court, that is another. If they do this to drum up business, there should be sanctions against them" AMEN

    Another *possibility* was the tithing he paid was on some legit earnings, or he was running an honest business, paying tithing on earnings and living right then later things went south including honesty-I don't know-NO story!

  • Pete in Texas
    Aug. 6, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    To Lia and all those who wonder where the church's money goes each year:

    I'm no church auditor, however, I am a superintendent for a company that builds LDS churches here in Texas. If the church, CONSERVATIVELY, builds 300 new buildings a year, and if the cost for each of those is, CONSERVATIVELY, figured at $1 Million, than reasonably you can figure that they are spending $300 Million YEARLY in building new buildings. That is just the money spent on building new buildings. Tithing also goes to the maintenance of these buildings, as well as other places. Can you see how these figures add up pretty quickly to huge sums of money?

    I would suggest, rather than worry about how the money is being spent, since ultimately you'll receive blessings for paying an honest tithe regardless of HOW it's spent, you look at some of these numbers, be glad that you have a small hand in helping the church grow, and thank God that you are a part of this wonderful organization. I feel pretty comfortable in saying the church doesn't mind folks asking a lot of questions or thinking freely.

    Just my $.02......

  • 42istheanswer
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:46 a.m.

    seems strange that they would sue, the chuch usually returns the money voluntarily.

  • The Caravan Moves On
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:39 a.m.

    If it can be shown to the LDS church that the money this company received is in fact 'dirty', the Church will return it immediately and will do so gladly.

    They want NOTHING to do with funds that are received by an individual in any capacity that is not 100% honest. For example, the LDS Church will not even consider receiving money "earned" from gambling, and that even includes lottery winnings in state-sanctioned, legal lotteries.

    That is the LORD'S standard and I'm proud to know they uphold strictly.

  • BYU 99
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:38 a.m.

    Its a good thing there wasn't a collection plate or there would be no way of knowing how much he donated. The LDS church will likely give the money back if it is proved that it was fraud.

  • The Judge
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    I find it ironic that people are upset the guy paid tithing on money he had stolen. So, if you break one commandment, you should just go ahead and break all the others? Is that your philosophy? Because that's the logical conclusion of that premise.
    The way I look at it, at least the guy was keeping ONE commandment...

  • sergio
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    Be it as it may, one thing is clear; and that is: that it is long over due for the time for the church to make public its finanical records. In secretcy there is too much opportunity for fraud, also the citizens of Utah have a right to know because the church is the biggest single influence in our lives.

  • Lia
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:26 a.m.

    Our family could never figure out where the hundreds of millions of dollars go. Sure the church builds temples and sends relief to trouble spots worldwide, but it is more a corporation than a church.

    My dad was excommunicated because he "asked too many questions" and was a free thinker.
    He couldn't be controlled.

  • mattrick78
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:26 a.m.


    I think there is more (or less) to the story than you probably realize. I don't think the Mormon church forces anyone to pay tithes. If your Dad spent the money to pay for food, there is nothing that the church can do about it.

  • ungewiss
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:14 a.m.

    "...the Church has a long standing policy of not profiting from alleged ill-gotten gains..."

    Uhh, hey Trotter, doesn't the Church have a long standing policy of not profiting, period? Or should you really just be paying taxes like all the other corporations in this country?

    What a business model! Hundreds of millions of dollars every Sunday, and they don't pay taxes on a dime.

  • Fire Dancer
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:06 a.m.

    There are 2 really important issues here. First, the alleged perpetrator has not been convicted, only charged. While history shows that he is probably going to be convicted,that proof must be provided, either in a criminal case or a civil case, to enable a recovery of assets. Second, the lawsuit provides a legal mechanism for the transfer of funds. You can't just say give me this money back without a legal basis, particularly if you are a third party.

  • itsallgood
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:59 a.m.

    the money will not go back to the investors, it will go to the lawyer and court fees. he has been accused but not proven.not charged. isn't he innocent until proven guilty? maybe he invested his own money and that is the money he paid tithes on. hall had enough money and assets to pay back all investment money, which proves no ponzi, but the reciever took it and paid small amounts to investors and kept the rest as fees. this happened 4 yrs ago and still it is not proven. i know this family personally and know the heck that jenkins has put him through. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!!!!!!!

  • Cap'n Parrotdead
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:57 a.m.

    Isn't that rich? He was honest enough to pay tithing on dishonestly gotten gains.

  • katamb-midvale
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    But the man has not yet been convicted. Shouldn't any lawsuits wait until he is actually convicted? Sounds like the judge of popular opinion has already done the job - no need for a trial. (Very well written article, by the way.)

  • Cats
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:50 a.m.

    BTW, I had a situation in my own family where an individual had committed a form of fraud against us. The First Presidency got involved in pressuring this individual into giving us the money back. It was a VERY large sum of money. I won't give details. It was an unusual situation, BUT the First Presidency directed the Church Attorney to help us and we got a large part of the money back. They were EXTREMELY PROMPT in helping us.

    The Church always strives to do the right thing in all circumstances.

  • Sutton
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:49 a.m.

    So Rox, how’s that guilt trip coming?

    70 years later and the self-righteous of the church will still go after you for not paying your tithing.

    Tithing is optional Ha-ha! (Roll- eyes)

  • Belching Cow
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:34 a.m.

    He paid tithing on money he earned off a scam? That's just plain weird on so many levels.

  • VisualMoab
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:26 a.m.

    As long as the Attorney can prove that he has filed suit or sought collections from all other sources where the contributor has paid money to, then it would be fair to "ask" the church for the money back.

  • Bazinga
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:22 a.m.

    @Rox - Because it's only the MORMON church that asks that you TITHE 10% of your income. If you look up the origin of the word tithing you would know that it is same root as tenth. Most all Christian faiths request a 10% tithing.

    In contrast to your anecdote, in 1982, when my dad was out of work, and faced the same quandary (to feed his family or tithe), the bishop told him to pay a tithing and he would have enough to feed himself, my mom and their 4 kids. He did and only a short time later he had work and sufficient means to support the family.

  • witch39
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:12 a.m.

    Don't we all get tired of people painting Mormonism with a broad brush when a member does something awful? Even when members don't do bad things, there's always somebody out there yapping about "the Church" this and "the Church" that. Go down to Welfare Square and see what the Church does there, or the Humanitarian center,or any of a few thousand wards where even the kids are involved in health kit assembly and quilt making. These are the people who make up the main body of Mormons.

  • Woody
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:10 a.m.

    Attempting to recover the money is appropriate. If it was stolen, then I am sure the Church wants nothing to do with it.

    What concerns me is how this became a news story. If a reported stumbled on a court filing, that is one thing. If the lawyer was calling press oonferences and trying the case outside the court, that is another. If they do this to drum up business, there should be sanctions against them.

  • Paul in MD
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:09 a.m.

    Rox, it saddens me that your family left the church over the bad behavior of some local leaders. I've seen behavior like this from folks in other situations, and it never goes well. It proves that no matter what we believe, we're all human and we make bad calls sometimes.

    I went through a patch where I couldn't pay tithing. When we got back on our feet, we talked about paying the tithing we had missed, and our bishop told us not to worry about it. The important thing isn't the money, but your efforts and faith.

    Having been a ward clerk, I've seen hardship situations like what you describe. Although people in rough circumstances were still encouraged to tithe, help and compassion were always extended regardless.

    Regarding the article, nothing is said about whether the lawyer contacted the Church about returning the funds before filing a lawsuit. If he jumped right to a lawsuit, I think he is living up to the worst generalization of lawyers as money-grubbing sharks.

  • MrsH
    Aug. 6, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    Singer 101: Maybe it's like when I have a diet Pepsi with my chocolate donut.

    They cancel each other out, and I'm all good ;)

  • Rob
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:56 a.m.

    ROX-I can imagine how hard that was for your Dad and all of you when he ran into hard times. I feel for you. I ran into some hard times and did go to the church for help. I did run into some people who didn't get it and treated me bad. Boy do I have stories but I stayed active in the church because these are just people. They make mistakes. I make mistakes. My testimony of the Savior and that this is his church are what kept me going. It was very hard and at times I still feel bad. They are not professionals who are paid to be a Bishop, etc.
    Also please do not think I am judging your family for not staying in the church. I definately am not. There is a lot of things going on emotionally when you cannot through no fault of your own provide for your family. I wish things had been easier for you guys.

  • robin212
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:55 a.m.

    In an ideal world where you can trust everyone it would be best to walk into the church office building and make your request to get the money back. That would avoid headlines. But given the current climate of fraud, etc. a lawsuit may be the most transparent and trustworthy way to get the job done. Anyone off the street could try to con the church with a story of tithing paid with ill-gotten gains.

    This article may reveal more about the suing lawyer (that he does not trust the church to return the money) and so they filed a lawsuit so that it forces the church to act.

    In fairness to the lawyer however, the suit may have been filed so as to speed up the recovery of the money for the victims he represents. By getting embarrassing headlines for the church, it makes them want to resolve the issue more quickly.

    While I hate to see the LDS church receive bad press, I believe the lawyer here acting in the best interest of his client, but not showing much respect for the church in the process.

  • Jimmy James
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:55 a.m.


    This guys steals from others but then pays tithing on it? My guess is not that he was trying to get in good with God or to quasi do the right thing, but was trying to portray his earnings as legitimate to those around him so he could fool others. (Although, the only people who would know that he paid tithing is the bishopric and financial clerks...)

    And Rox,

    I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Nobody should ever be pressured to do something they don't want to do. The irony of the situation is, I don't know of many full tithe payers that are starving (at least in Utah). And I'm not talking about blessings from on high, I'm talking about the Bishops Storehouse. I believe that I've heard of Bishops who like to see that people are first willing to put their trust in God by paying their tithing, and then afterwards will step in and take care of their needs using church resources. Probably not all Bishops do it that way, and maybe it was different in the 70's, but it is definitely an interesting situation.

  • Instereo
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:52 a.m.

    I don't think the church would want money gotten illegally. I also don't think the church would want people to suffer who lost money from an illegal scheme. We don't know if the money was asked for before the lawsuit or not but even with the lawsuit, it's not a slap against the church, it's just a legal procedure to resolve a bad situation.

  • Cats
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:51 a.m.

    Dear Rox: Too bad your family didn't have the faith to follow through and pay their tithing. I know countless stories of people who paid tithing under difficult circumstances and were blessed with what they needed. I have seen this in my own life. It is when the chips are down that what we are really made of comes to the surface.

    The Church has no desire to profit off crime. They will do the right thing. This lawyer is only doing his job. It will all get worked out.

    I don't know why these things always have to get turned into a "Utah" thing. There are some people among us that are dishonest and that live lives of complete contradiction. That happens EVERYWHERE. If this guy is guilty of fraud, he will answer for it both in an earhtly tribunal and before God.

  • Alterego
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:45 a.m.

    I will be astonished if the church doesn't return it. I'm sure if the attorney had approached the church privately, he still would have received these monies.

    I'm not sure this is even newsworthy.

  • Iggle
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:33 a.m.

    Don't be too quick to condemn this lawyer. Sometimes a lawsuit is a necessary formality in a process like this. He may just be taking the appropriate legal steps and not attacking the church per se.

  • Observation-ist
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:29 a.m.

    Isn't paying tithing on stolen money kind of like stealing scriptures?

    One would have thought that this lawyer would have done his homework and figured out that the Church would cooperate. Perhaps there's a disagreement on the amount of donations or something.

    Frankly, the article glaringly omits any reference to any communication (or lack thereof) between the lawyer and the Church. If it didn't happen, shame on the lawyer. If it did, what was the disagreement that forced the legal action? I expected more from the reporter.

  • The Rock
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:28 a.m.

    I am LDS. If I had a large sum stolen from me and the their paid tithing on it, I would probably want it back, especially if I needed that money for something very important to me, like paying for my kids education, retirement, etc.

    I would have gone to my stake president and requested his advice on how to proceed. It could have been handled quietly and justice would be served.

    A nonmember may not know a good way to reach the decision makers and after getting nowhere with repeated phone calls (it happens in large organizations) felt compelled to file suit.

    That puts things in the best possible light.

    It is more likely that the attorney is just grand standing and wants to smear the church (too much of that going on). If so then shame on him.

    If you had just sold your home and were taking to proceeds to pay for your new home, and the money was stolen, you bet you would ask for any tithing the thief paid.

  • UteExpat
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    Folks, you are missing the point of this story. A bunch of people were ripped off and sued the guy who ripped them off. he doesn't have the money anymore, so he delares bankruptcy and the court hires a person to represent the people who were ripped off (involuntary creditors), among others, and recover as much money as possible for the creditors. That's this lawyer's job. So he goes to the church, because (a) the money was fraudulently obtained, thus shouldn't have been tithed in the first place, and (b) he probably knows the church will return the money (because, again, it wasn't real "gain" to him--he stole it). And the lawyer isn't being greedy--he is representing his clients (the creditors) very well, it seems.

    It always amazes me that guys like this pay tithing. Is it because (a) they are trying to do better (but why not stop ripping off, or donate more); (b) they want to appear righteous in their wards, etc.;(c) a guilt thing; or (d)something else? Presumably they want to have a temple recommend, but how can they answer that they are honest in their dealings?

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    Hee hee! My2Cents, who thinks children of illegal immigrants shouldn't have citizenship and shouldn't profit from the illegal activities of their parents, sees nothing wrong with the LDS Church profiting from the illegal activities of its members.

    Talk about your moral relativism!

  • azgal
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:20 a.m.

    It doesn't do tithe-paying criminals any good to pay tithing! Isnt there a verse in the bible that says something along the line of ... it profiteth him nothing...?

  • Jennifer
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:19 a.m.

    I applaud the LDS church for not wanting anything to do with contributions knowingly gained through fraudulent or unrighteous means.

  • Bubble
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:18 a.m.

    So let's say the guy doesn't file a lawsuit - just goes in and asks for the money back and the Church returns it.

    That's good, right?

    But then what happens if some disgruntled victim decides that he (or she) did not recoup enough of his losses from this crime?

    There is no finalized court order relieving the Church of any further financial obligation in this case. Disgruntled victim may not win a lawsuit to get any additional money back, but the Church has to spend time and money defending against him - and every other disgruntled victim who may decide they want more money back as well.

    This way the lawyer and the Church have a finalized court order and a record of the efforts that were made to set things right - disgruntled victim cannot sue the lawyer for not doing enough and he cannot sue the Church because he wants more money back.

    This lawsuit is a classic case of covering your own behind - it protects both the lawyer and the Church and is really nothing more than a fancy contract.

  • Maudine
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:07 a.m.

    @ ilovecriters: The "greedy" lawyer does not actually get to keep any of this money - it will be returned to the people it was stolen from.

    @ attentive: He is not asking for money back that he paid - he is asking for the return of money that was stolen so it can be returned to the people it was stolen from (they did not voluntarily "give" that money to anyone - they invested it in a business).

    To those who think this should not be done through a lawsuit: This lawyer is not acting on his own behalf, he is acting on behalf of his clients. He has to file a lawsuit so that there is a paper trail so that when the money is recovered there is an exact record of how much was recovered as well as a record of the fact that he received this money for and on behalf of the victims of this crime. This lawsuit also protects the LDS Church by ensuring that all the victims know they cannot approach the Church themselves over this issue. If this were not done through a lawsuit, there would be no binding, legal resolution to protect the Church.

  • Lia
    Aug. 6, 2010 8:01 a.m.

    to ilovecriters

    Why? Because they are insulated from the real world, corralled into their callings and immersed in doctrine, and are, to be truthful, naive to the ways of reality.

  • Cubicle Dweller
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:57 a.m.

    This is actually a well settled legal issue known as a preference, which is a transfer to defraud creditors. A debtor is not allowed to just give away money or property to avoid paying a debt, otherwise a lot of people would just give all they had left to a trusted relative or friend prior to declaring bankruptcy. This was the reason that Thomas Jefferson could not free his slaves. As he was always insolvent, his creditors could have forced him into bankruptcy and recovered the slaves as a preference. This is an issue that is continually faced by any organization that accepts donations. It actually has nothing to do with how the funds were obtained by the donor. The only issue is whether bona fide creditors are being left in the lurch by such a transfer. Any payments to the power company are fine as those would be for actual services delivered by any standard (i.e. the electric company would be deemed a bona fide creditor).

  • xscribe
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:56 a.m.

    @Attentive & K: Probably so, as the problem is the money was donated or tithed with money that was not the persons money. I'm sure if someone took $150,000 from you and donated fraudulently, you'd want that money back as well. Unless, of course, you are independently wealthy.

  • Dektol
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:56 a.m.

    Since the LDS church does not countenance stealing they should willingly give the money back. It was stolen money. After all, they don't take 'tithing' on gambling winnings and gambling is legal most places.
    Keeping the money puts the LDS Church in line as just one more money laundering outfit.
    Give it willingly to the guy, with interest.

  • rlsintx
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:51 a.m.

    Clearly the church should return it, the same as they do tithing and contributions identified to have originated from gambling proceeds.

    And, they will return it - they'll probably just wait until they have a court order in place so the accounting is all documented appropriately and that it represents closure to the entire situation.

  • Rox
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:43 a.m.

    Tithing may not be mandatory, but in the early 70's when my dad ran into hard times, and it was feed us or tithe, the bishop and other authorities got all huffy. We left the church in May of 72 because they wanted their 10% one way or another.

  • Esquire
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:31 a.m.

    I'm sure the Church will work something out. But what amazes me is all the scammers who rip people off then pay their tithing. Uh, don't they get it? This is one thing that has bothered me about the Utah culture. Anything goes in business, then serve in your calling on Sunday and its OK. Money is the measure of righteousness for far too many people.

  • VF
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:24 a.m.

    I am in complete agreement with JanSan and Jenkins could have gotten agreement with the Church if he would meet with the church leaders and get their approval to return the money the church had, much of it would have been done in a friendly way.

    Shame on you Jenkins

  • Flashback
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:19 a.m.

    The Church didn't do anything wrong. My guess if this guy would just go to H. David Burton and ask for the money back, he'd get it. This court reciever dude must be some type of doofus with an agenda. I wouldn't have any problem with the church giving the money back. The Church, after all, can afford it.

  • singer101
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:19 a.m.

    They may be criminals, but at least they paid their tithing.

  • BGuy
    Aug. 6, 2010 7:12 a.m.

    This is just the guy's job. He's supposed to recover the money, so he initiates legal actions to get it. Most likely the church will just return the money as they did in a similar situation referenced in the story. It will all be done out of court without much controversy.

  • ilovecriters
    Aug. 6, 2010 6:21 a.m.

    Another GREEDY lawyer but why are Utah people/Mormons so susceptible to Ponzie schemes?

  • financenco
    Aug. 6, 2010 6:19 a.m.

    I agree. On the tithing envelope there isn't a place on the slip that says. Is this money from legal or illegal gains, with a check in the box. There are bad folks in everything, even in church, no matter the religion. And anyone who would use a brick to slap a fly off of someone's head, might have some skeletons in his own closet, that he might not like opened.

  • K
    Aug. 6, 2010 5:13 a.m.

    Let's go after the electric company too. I'm sure the guy paid the light bill.

    Seriously. It's a donation. If he gave 10% to American Red Cross would they be sued?

  • My2Cents
    Aug. 6, 2010 4:29 a.m.

    It seems this state has really become a government of suppression and oppression. I don't think they can sue the church or any religion to recover donations from any source. If the religion wants to return it as blood money that's their choice, but the state would have a hard time getting it through court actions. Once money is donated it considered used and they can't take donations from others to compensate for donation from criminals. The state has to prove the church knew this donation was from criminal acts which they can never do.

    What is ironic is the mentality of Mormonism in Utah and business owners. The employers run a crime ring and think that if they pay tithing it absolves them of their crimes. Especially when it comes to how they treat employees, job benefits, and wages.

    Employers and this state have this insane idea that employee's are beholding to the god head of a business and the state to have a job, even if it is slavery. Workers of Utah have come to accept slavery and poverty pay as their way of life and not to expect anything else.

  • attentive
    Aug. 6, 2010 2:06 a.m.

    Tithing is VOLUNTARY. It is NOT mandatory and anyone who pays tithing knows that when they pay tithing that they are giving those funds to the Church to do with it as the Church so pleases. I actually feel very sorry for anyone who would ever ask that their tithing funds be returned to them for any reason.

  • leroi
    Aug. 6, 2010 1:19 a.m.

    hmmmm, I disagree JanSan. I'll admit that upon reading the headline, I worried that the Church might be portrayed poorly, but by the end, felt the article brings attention to an interesting dilemma. I'm sure the Church will do as it always does in such circumstances and not collect tithes from individuals donating from fraudulent means. The article suggests as such in the end.

  • JanSan
    Aug. 6, 2010 12:26 a.m.

    I don't know if I am just tired or if this was just really bad writing or just a mean person, but it seems like this lawyer is going with guns drawn on the church. It was not the churchs fault that this money was paid in tithing and it would make much more sense to me if they just went and talked to the church and explained to them what was going on before taking this kind of action against the church. They make it sound in the article that the church is at fault in wrong doing and the lawyer needs to pull out all the stops to right this wrong. I feel that is really overkill here in this situation