Connect with us

CRIME

‘Bags and Bags’ of Money Found Stashed in Bathroom Wall at Joel Osteen’s Megachurch: Report

Published

on

A plumbing repair at televangelist Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston reportedly led to the discovery of “bags and bags” of cash and checks in a bathroom wall.

The discovery came several years after someone stole $600,000 in cash and checks from a safe at Osteen’s Lakewood Church, according to a report from KRPC Channel 2. The station suggested that whoever stole the money in 2014 may have hidden it in the bathroom wall.

A plumber named Justin, who works for a large contractor, told the station he got a call about a loose toilet at the church on Nov. 10.

“Justin said he started working on the toilet and had to remove the tile and insulation,” the station reports. “Once he removed the insulation, he discovered about 3,000 envelopes full of checks. Some had cash in it. Justin said he called the church’s maintenance supervisor and had to stay at the church for almost seven hours.”

READ MORE: Joel Osteen denounced as ‘grifting scumbag’ after his megachurch pockets millions in COVID-19 relief

Houston police investigators later questioned Justin and removed the rest of the wall, discovering “bags and bags” of money and checks.

“Justin said the church or HPD never thanked him or reached out to him about $25,000 reward money,” the station reported, referring to the reward that was offered following the 2014 theft. “Justin said he even called Crime Stoppers about reward money, but never heard back. He even tried reaching out to Joel Osteen but hasn’t heard back.”

A representative from the church confirmed the discovery in a statement.

“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found,” the church representative said. “Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation. Lakewood has no further comment at this time.”

In 2014, Houston police said $200,000 in cash and $400,000 worth of checks were stolen from a safe at the church. At the time, the church said the stolen money represented funds that were contributed during one weekend of services.

Watch KPRC’s report below.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

CRIME

Who Is the Highland Park July 4th Mass Shooting Person of Interest? ‘Obsession With Mass Death and Nihilism’

Published

on

The person police are describing as a “person of interest” in the Highland Park, Illinois Independence Day mass shooting that left six parade watchers dead and 38 injured has been apprehended.

Robert “Bobby” Crimo goes by the name of “Awake the Rapper” on social media. According to The Daily Beast, he is “an amateur rapper who posted disturbing videos on his YouTube channel, including a crude animation depicting a heavily armed shooter being killed by police.”

Crimo, a 22-year-old white man, “is a video-game enthusiast and professional wrestling fan. One photo posted to Twitter showed him wearing a Trump flag like a cape; in another he sported an FBI cap. But the same account also liked a video of President Biden.”

USA Today reports Crimo has been arrested in connection with the mass shooting. There are no reports he has been charged, and it’s too early to determine his political beliefs, if any. NCRM has not verified any of the photos in this report.

An FBI wanted poster published by Fox News says Crimo “has the following tattoos: four tally marks with a line through them on his right cheek, red roses and green leaves on his neck, and cursive script above his left eyebrow.”

NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins, who describes his work as covering the “dystopia beat,” writes: “The most important thing to know about Crimo’s online identity is his obsession with mass death and nihilism.”

In an NBC News article, Collins adds Crimo “left a long trail of tributes to mass shootings and public killings on social media platforms, according to numerous profiles that appear to belong to him.”

“Crimo didn’t frequently post about major political figures on his websites, except for two posts about former President Donald Trump,” Collins adds.

A video posted to Crimo’s YouTube page on Jan. 2, 2021, appears to show Crimo among a throng of protesters cheering for Trump’s presidential motorcade outside an airport. Crimo flips the phone’s orientation to reveal his face at the end of the video.

Crimo is also seen draped in a Trump flag in a June 27, 2021, post on Twitter. The post is captioned with only the word “spam.”

Sawyer Hackett, a senior advisor to former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, posted these images that have been flooding social media, allegedly of Crimo.

Investigative journalist Steven Monacelli, who writes about extremism, warns about jumping to conclusions, but adds these photos he says are of Crimo and says he “does appear to have been active in some right wing political events.”

Continue Reading

CRIME

‘Committee’s Definitely Got Something’: Legal Experts Claim Threat of Wire Fraud Charges Loom Over Trump and Aides

Published

on

In conversations with the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, two former officials in the Department of Justice suggested that specific evidence revealed in the Jan. 6th committee’s investigation of Donald Trump provides a roadmap that could lead to wire fraud charges against members of Donald Trump’s campaign officials and possibly the former president too.

At issue is the preponderance of evidence that Trump and his aides were well aware that he had lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden on election night and yet sent out a flood of requests for donations maintaining the election results were fraudulent.

As the report notes, “That same day, the Trump campaign sent a fundraising email claiming that ‘President Trump will easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with only legal votes cast.’ The solicitation called on supporters to donate any dollar amount and join something called the ‘Election Defense Task Force.’ The campaign, it said, was ‘counting on members to help [Trump] fight back and secure FOUR MORE YEARS.'”

Pointing out that legal experts believe that evidence contains the “ingredients for possible federal charges against officials with the campaign and the Republican National Committee—as well as Trump himself,” Sollenberger first spoke with former U.S. attorney Barb McQuade, who said wire fraud cases are a specialty of U.S. attorney’s offices.

RELATED: ‘Send this to DOJ immediately’: Legal expert says Trump allies appear to have committed a ‘very serious’ crime

“If it can be shown that Trump or others sent an email asking for money for one purpose, and then used it for another, that could constitute fraud, regardless of whether it can be proved that they knew the election had not been stolen,” she explained.

Her view was bolstered by Natalie Adams, who previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, who bluntly stated, “the committee’s definitely got something.”

Speaking with the Beast, she elaborated, “It’s not whether you know something absolutely for sure. It’s if it’s ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to you that people will believe promises and statements that you either know aren’t true, or are reckless or deceptive, which you are trying to use to get something of value.”

According to Adams, there is a wire fraud conspiracy case to be made — which could sweep up the former president as a co-conspirator.

“With conspiracy, you don’t necessarily have to commit an overt act. And jury instructions don’t require proof of a formal agreement, because criminal actors avoid doing that,” she explained. “But if people work together and profit from it, it’s helpful to show who had the access and opportunity to review those communications, and who would be likely to know by virtue of their job what is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to occur, who are charged with vetting the truth of statements, and so on.”

You can read more here.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Continue Reading

CRIME

Manhattan DA Tells Judge to Proceed With the Case Against the Trump Org and CFO Allen Weisselberg

Published

on

In a 129-page court filing on Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told the judge handling the case involving Donald Trump’s family business that he should move forward. He’s also ready to file felony charges against former Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

“This case, at its core, is ordinary,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Solomon Shinerock quoted the New York Daily News. “It arises from the fact that Allen Weisselberg violated the basic imperative that all New Yorkers faithfully report and pay tax on their income.”

In Feb. 2022 there was a motion filed by the Trump Org. to have the charges dismissed, and until now the prosecutors haven’t responded. The allegations are that both dodged income taxes on more than $1.7 million for over 15 years as well as other crimes.

Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer, has spoken with the DA and provided documents, he tweeted earlier this year many times publicly.

READ: Trump baffled Kellyanne Conway with an offer after losing the 2020 election

Weisselberg’s lawyers allege that all of the information that they’re basing their facts on come from lies by Cohen told federal investigators. But Bragg’s office explained none of the prosecutors had ever “seen or been briefed on the contents of Weisselberg’s testimony” against Cohen to the feds.

“Indeed, the claim that (Cohen) sparked this Investigation as part of a vendetta resulting from Weisselberg’s immunized testimony is incorrect,” the filing states. “And, regardless of (Cohen’s) feelings towards Weisselberg … the Investigation that led to this Indictment, and the information used to obtain that Indictment, are the result of sources completely independent of (Cohen).”

“Weisselberg fails and fails miserably in his vengeful witness defense in the fact that I never testified before the grand jury against him,” said Cohen in a statement to Raw Story. “Mr. Shinerock’s opposition papers clearly demonstrate that the Trump methodology of lying and blaming others only works for Trump; all others get jail time.”

“This might be the right time for Weisselberg to think about cooperating,” he added.

Bragg, who made it clear that he hasn’t looked into whatever Cohen did or did not say to the federal government. There have been a number of people who came forward and spoke to the district attorney’s office prior to Bragg taking over. One of those is Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, who revealed that she handed over a lot of information to the DA as well.

Read the full report at NYDN

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.