Kerala-born missionary founded Gospel for Asia, based in Texas.
A Kerala-born Indian American missionary who is now settled in Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Carrollton, Texas, Yohannan Kadappiliaril Punnose or K.P. Yohannan, who founded and runs Gospel for Asia – the second largest Christian mission agencies in the U.S. – has been named along with several family members in a class action lawsuit alleging that the organization and several affiliates fraudulently solicited hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations, and misdirected the money into the founder’s kitty.
The lawsuit initiated in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas by the Dallas-based Stanley Law Group, comes just four months after the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) cut ties with the organization last October for violating five of the ECFA’s seven core standards.
In the 108-page document acquired by The Christian Post, last Tuesday, plaintiffs allege that Gospel for Asia (GFA), Yohannan, and other GFA officials misrepresented to donors how, when, and where charitable donations would be spent, and funneled vast amounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars the organization has collected into for-profit businesses and an expensive headquarters.
Matthew and Jennifer Dickson, who are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, charge defendants with violations of RICO and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as fraud and unjust enrichment.
Listed as defendants along with Yohannan are: his wife, Gisela, a member of the Board of Directors of GFA; his son Daniel Punnose, also a member of the Board of Directors of GFA and a vice president; David Carroll, who serves GFA in multiple capacities, including Chief Financial Officer; and Pat Emerick. Emerick, according to the suit, is a United States citizen who resides in Ontario, Canada. He serves as the director of the…
K.P. Yohannan, the influential international evangelical pastor behind Believers Church, has over the last 38 years grown his Texas-based non-profit “Gospel for Asia” (GFA) into the second-largest mission organization in the U.S. Now, a single lawsuit alleging fraud and misuse of hundreds of millions in donations could bring the whole thing crumbling down.
According to a federal class action lawsuit filed on Monday in Arkansas, Yohannan and others in his organization allegedly took offerings from tens of thousands of faithful under the guise of feeding and housing the world’s most impoverished people. But instead, the lawsuit claims, they used the gifts to build an empire that includes homes, sports teams, private investing, and a sprawling $20 million headquarters in Wills Point, Texas.
GFA’s mission, according to its website, is “to share the Good News of Jesus with those who have never heard his name.” They “train and send national missionaries to reach out into areas where the Good News of Jesus Christ has not yet been heard.” Specifically, they aim to convert those who live in what evangelicals know as the “10/40 Window”—10 degrees to 40 degrees north of the equator—where mostly poor Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists live.
In videos of sermons before American audiences—which often address the topic of selflessness—Yohannan appears in a button-down shirt and sport coat, joking about his emigration from India and his thick accent before a crowd of evangelical southerners. When presiding over Believers’ Church, Yohannan more closely resembles the leader of an episcopal church, wears flowing robes, and—as documented by the indefatigable religion blogger, Warren Throckmorton—at times having junior pastors kiss his ring.
“Yohannan and his associates divert much of this money and do with it as they please,” lawyers for plaintiffs Matthew and Jennifer Dickson allege in the complaint.
In an email to my request for comment, Brian Kirik,…
Gospel for Asia (GFA), the second largest mission organisation in the US, is facing a lawsuit for fraud and misuse of charitable donations.
The Texas-based Christian charity, led by KP Yohannan, is considered one of the most significant missionary movements of the 20th century. However it now faces legal action for allegedly “soliciting hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations, and then misdirecting the money into the personal empire” of Yohannan.
Blogger Warren Throckmorton, who has followed the case closely and made several revelations of GFA misconduct, revealed that the Dallas-based Stanley Law Group (SLG) initiated the lawsuit.
A statement from SLG posted to Throckmorton’s blog on patheos read: “The lawsuit alleges that Gospel for Asia, Yohannan, and other GFA officials misrepresented to donors how, when, and where charitable donations would be spent, and funneled vast amounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars GFA has collected into for-profit businesses and an expensive headquarters.”
Marc Stanley, lead attorney on the case, said: “K.P. Yohannan and his Gospel for Asia inner circle have been exploiting the goodwill and generosity of devout Christians around the country for years. Gospel for Asia should return all the money it’s taken from donors who thought they were contributing to charity.”
GFA, formerly a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), had its membership revoked in October 2015 due to “failure to comply with multiple ECFA standards”.
The charity was a charter member of the ECFA, making its removal a significant development. The evangelical watchdog was founded in 1979 as an accreditation organisation to police the financial integrity of Christian organisations….
In foreign policy, Tsai has signaled her direction. During televised pre-election debates and post-election interviews, she emphasized the historic importance of the 1992 meeting between China and Taiwan “for setting aside differences to seek common ground.” That was a deft move by Tsai, a former law professor and trade negotiator. The Kuomintang had, in 2000, framed that particular meeting as resulting in consensus on the existence of One China, with each side defining its own meaning.