Easy marks

Charity | Pyramid scheme uses pastors to build trust and gain 'members'
by Rusty Leonard
Posted 7/31/09, 08:56 am

Legend has it that P.T. Barnum once said, "There is a sucker born every minute."

If that's true, it's possible that Harvey Dockstader Jr. is out to find them all-from prison, and using pastors and "church" leaders to find his marks.

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Jeff Siner//Charlotte Observer

Money for nothing?

Charity | INSP puts highly touted and state-supported projects on hold
by Rusty Leonard
Posted 7/17/09, 09:02 am

Yogi Berra might call it a case of "déjà vu all over again."

A Christian television ministry in suburban Charlotte, N.C., grows quickly-in just five years-from less than $30 million in annual income to nearly $70 million. The ministry embarks on a $100 million building project. Then come accusations of excess and abuse of donor funds.

This is not a description of Jim and Tammy Bakker's PTL Network, which closed 20 years ago. It describes The Inspiration Networks.

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Gary O'Brien/The Charlotte Observer/AP

Sharing and caring

Charity | Health care sharing ministries seem to work, if they can survive
by Rusty Leonard
Posted 7/07/09, 12:00 am

President Obama says he's looking for creative, "outside-the-box" thinking on health care. But the reform plans that have the greatest likelihood of passing put at risk a Christian alternative to insurance that is now being used by more than 100,000 people in the United States.

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