Fleecing the flock: Southern Baptist foundation execs convicted of fraud.

No, not because the Bible is a myth—nobody cares if you’re lying to people about gods and angels—but because William Pierre Crotts and Thomas Dale Grabinski managed to cheat 11,000 investors across the country out of $585 million dollars over the course of several decades:

In a trial that lasted 10 months, prosecutors claimed that the executives were driven by shame to hide the foundation’s mounting investment losses, bilking investors who were recruited in Southern Baptist churches and by Bible-quoting salesmen who visited their homes. Investors were told their money would help Southern Baptist causes, such as building new churches, and were promised above-market returns.

Instead, prosecutors said Crotts and Grabinski had designed a Ponzi scheme in which new investors were needed to pay off the secret mounting debt. Donald Conrad, an Arizona assistant attorney general, characterized Crotts and Grabinski during closing arguments as business failures who defrauded investors in part to “feed their financial fantasies” that they were savvy businessmen.

One good delusion inspires another I suppose.

The defense argued that the foundation would’ve been fine if sales of securities hadn’t been halted by Arizona officials in 1999. The state’s officials, they claimed, just didn’t understand the foundation’s “complicated finances.” That’s not the bit that caught my attention, though. No, what caught my attention was the following comment by fellow True Believer™ James D. Porter, who is a friend of Crotts and believes him to be innocent:

“The truth is not determined by what this court said,” Porter said. “Righteous people have spent time in jail before.”

Yes! It’s the old “persecuted Christian” meme raising its ugly head yet again! Ain’t faith a grand thing? It allows you to still believe in your friends after they’ve defrauded you of your investment money.

6 thoughts on “Fleecing the flock: Southern Baptist foundation execs convicted of fraud.

  1. The defense argued that the foundation would’ve been fine if sales of securities hadn’t been halted by Arizona officials in 1999.

    Yeah, right.

    Ponzi, the “match king”, committed suicide in 1932. The monopoly deal on household matches with the then Weimar Republic didn’t terminate until what, 1983? I still remember the standard-issue matchboxes they sold in Germany…

  2. Poor, misunderstood, lying bastard Xians. They can do anything they want, and all will be forgiven as long as they repent. What a shame that such fine upstanding bullshit artists should get caught and go to jail. I’ll bet they were pillars of their community, and regular attendees of the local Rotary Pancacke Breakfast too! So sad… I bet they bought their mothers all kinds of nice things with their stolen money too. Such nice boys…

  3. How terribly sad that not only did they hurt others, but they did so seeking ostensibly to glorify God but in reality only to protect their own pride.

    Or, alternately, what a bunch of bastards.

    As to their ultimate forgiveness (and prerequisite repentence, according to the orthodoxy)—not really all that interested.  Do the crime in *this* world, do the time in this world.

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