Thursday, August 17, 2006

God’s Rap Sheet: Phoenix

As if we needed any more proof that claiming to be a man of God doesn’t necessarily make you a godly man, here comes the following dispatch from Phoenix.

William Crotts and Thomas Grabinski, the former president and general counsel, respectively, of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, were just convicted of WHAT?

A. The sexual abuse of three female parishioners in the 1980s
B. Failing to report income of more than $800,000 to the IRS
C. Defrauding elderly investors of more than $500 million dollars
D. Aggravated assault for beating up a gay man outside a downtown Phoenix bar known for attracting transvestites

C: Defrauding investors out of nearly a half-billion dollars.

Prosecutors said that the Baptist Foundation of Arizona promised its largely elderly clients high returns and a safe investment for using their money to build churches and retirement homes.

Instead, the foundation went belly up in what’s been called the largest nonprofit bankruptcy filing in the nation’s history.

Crotts and Grabinski were both convicted of fraud, and could face more than 100 years in prison. Five other defendants earlier pled guilty to fraud and other charges.

Said 77-year-old Virginia Branch, who lost some $400,000 in the scheme, “I just hope they realize they defied (God’s) word by mishandling money that people entrusted to them.”

Attorney’s for Crotts and Grabinski are already planning their appeal.


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