Fugitive Agape Ministries cult leader agrees to pay refund

Runaway Agape Ministries leader Rocco Leo has offered to “refund” a profoundly disabled woman $290,000 as “a sign of good faith”.

In documents filed with the District Court, Leo denies defrauding $420,000 from Silvia Melchiorre, saying any monies received from her were a gift. He says he is willing to give her $290,000, even though he is under no legal obligation to do so.

Ms Melchiorre and Martin Penney have filed claims against Leo and two senior members of his controversial church – Joe and Mari Antoinette Veneziano.

In his defence documents, Leo denies owing any money to Mr Penney.

He says Mr Penney donated $243,000 to the church – not $1.2 million – and that his “gift” has already been refunded.

Leo also asks the court to lift freezing orders on his assets so that he can make the $290,000 payment to Ms Melchiorre, should she accept it. He further warns some of the properties subject to the freezing order “belong to other people” who will “file claims for damages”.

The case returns to court this month.

– Source / Full Story: Agape chief: I’ll pay up , Sean Fewster, The Advertiser, Aug. 4, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 5, 2010.
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