According to Christian Today, Benjamin Rogovy from Seattle created a for-profit company entitled Christian Prayer Center (CDC) which sold prayers for $9-$35 per prayer and swindled 125,000 out of their money. A recent ruling is forcing Rogovy to pay restitution of up to $7.5 million to customers.
Rogovy generated a fake pastor who allegedly ran the website named John Carlson. A LinkedIn profile was also generated for the fake pastor with the title of “Senior Pastor, Christian Prayer Center, January 2009-present” The name Eric Johnston was also used as a fake leader for the company.
The deception also included false testimonies from consumers with stock photos claiming that the individuals prayers had been answered, and gave glory to God for deliverance from home foreclosures, healthy births, winning the lottery, negative HIV tests, and cancer in remission.
Rogovy is now being forced by the courts to return all of the money obtained by false pretenses back to the victims.
“I believe in the power of prayer,” said Attorney General BobFerguson, when speaking of Rogovy’s scheme and his conviction. “What I do not believe in and what I will not tolerate is unlawful business that prey upon people – taking advantage of their faith or their need for help – in order to make a quick buck.”
It has been confirmed by the Washington State Attorney General’s office that neither Carlson nor Johnston are actual people.
The website itself has been shut down with a simple message, “We thank you for all the prayers, and we cherish the opportunity to have created a place where Christians could meet to support each other,”
Those who purchased prayers from CPC between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2015 are able to receive a full refund and can file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s office until June 11, 2016.Click here for reuse options!
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