Racketeering , Fraud, Bankruptcy, Breach of Contract
In 1984 the IRS revoked the tax exemptions for contributions to the Universal Life Church of Modesto.
“In the past 11 months, $1.85 million was claimed for tax-exempt contributions to Universal Life in the revenue service’s office’s northern and central California service area, Mr. Sassi said. The claims were filed by 113 taxpayers.”
In 1989 the Universal Life Church (Modesto) filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy while claiming that they were not required to pay income taxes on their salary, file tax returns, or prepare financial statements for the government:
Federal, and State investigators, uncovered that the Hensley family had amassed a considerable fortune of cash reserves and property via its Universal Life Church scam:
In addition to these assets, the Hensley’s held over half a million dollars in interest payments and cash in various banks:
The Hensley family ran an elaborate scam with those that would get ordained through their church. They accepted large sums of money from ministers under the guise of donations as a way to bypass the individuals’ income tax. In exchange the “church” extracted a percentage fee. A 1988 decision against defendant Robert V. Fike brought more government scrutiny to the Universal Life Church of Modesto.
The US government deemed these actions worth investigating. These illegally acquired assets amounted to $3,236,986 in total; approximately $5,426,000 when adjusted for inflation. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
During the court proceedings, over 20 Universal Life Church ministers sued the Hensley operated church in Modesto; in State and Federal Courts over charges of fraud, racketeering, and more. These legal court documents show a systematic misuse of contributions from duped ULC ministers from around the country. This Universal Life Church scam has cause much apprehension, in that it raises the question: “Have the Hensley’s ever refunded the monies that were taken from these and many other ministers?”
What Happened to the Money?
In November of 1988, the Hensley’s quietly formed a new, un-incorporated, association under the same name: “Universal Life Church”. This new organization also took money from the general public:
The fact that the Modesto church felt it necessary to incorporate a new “Providential Investments Holding Corporation” in 1981 should have raised a red flag.
There is no record to show that the money taken in by this new association was not simply another diversion of cash flow. This begs many big questions: Which entity holds the money? Records the ordinations? Is this still an active and legitimate church or organization or is this Universal Life Church a scam?
We strongly suggested that you get ordained or re-ordained at http://themonastery.org/. As the facts show, these ordinations processed may hold questionable legality.
When The Monastery contacted the Modesto Church (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request clarification on this matter, no explanation was granted.