Ole Anthony’s been investigation religion since the mid 1980’s.
Anthony said, “There’s more fraud committed in America in the name of God than any other fraud. And that’s is just not right.”
Anthony heads the Trinity Foundation.
Trinity Foundation has worked with the FBI, IRS, even the U.S. Senate.
“Believe it or not, we are the only group in America that routinely investigates religious fraud,” Anthony said. “Why? Because these guys are terribly litigious. I’ve been sued so many times I can’t count it anymore.”
One of the televangelists Anthony is investigating is based in St. Charles Parish.
Jesse Duplantis is charismatic. He also has a worldwide following.
But Anthony says greed motivates Duplantis. And Anthony says that is apparent by his luxurious lifestyle.
Duplantis is building a mansion in St. Charles Parish. It’s reportedly one of the largest on the East Bank of the River. Construction began in October of 2008. The house has 35-thousand square feet of covered space. It has 22,039 of living space. The garage and other covered area totals 12,947 square feet.
Inside, there will be 5 bedrooms, more than 7 bathrooms, and a home theatre. Parish records show the cost at 3 million dollars. The owner of the house is not Duplantis, but his ministry, Jesse Duplantis Ministries.
Pete Evans leads the investigations for the Trinity Foundation.
Evans said, “Donors expect the money they donate to the church to go to the poor and needy. Not to build mansions for the pastor.”
Evans says Duplantis teaches the Prosperity Gospel.
“If you give x amount of dollars, you are going to get that multipled and get that back to you,” Evans said. “It’s a heavenly Las Vegas in some sense.”
According to Duplantis, the gospel has worked for him.
Duplantis’ congregants say his big house and private plane don’t bother them.
“That’s his personal business,” one congregant said.
Another said, ”I think god is blessing him. He gives to people and he gives back. Whatever you give you get back.”
While the church is paying for the house and plane, his congregants say they don’t believe their donations fund his lifestyle.
“I don’t think church money is going towards that,” a congregant said. “But I’d love to give to it. Because whatever you sow is what you receive. So I’d love a big beautiful house and a plane too.”
The Trinity Foundation says there’s no truth behind the prosperity gospel. They say Duplantis’ actions mirror many televangelists across the country.
“Unfortunately this is becoming more and more common where preachers are using at best suspicious business dealings to hurt the church and benefit themselves,” Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation said.
A huge home and a plane that’s sometimes used for personal use – all benefits the Trinity Foundation say shouldn’t be possible for a man of god.