Bruce Morrison is a pastor in Nova Scotia, CA and a former Gospel for Asia supporter. In recent years, he has actively sought to bring to light GFA’s practices regarding fund raising and spending.
In this guest post, Morrison documents and describes the path of funds from Canadian donors to India and then the Wills Point, TX where they were spent to complete the GFA headquarters. The routing of money from Canadian donors who thought they were spending money to help poor India people to the Wills Point campus should be of interest to Canadian authorities. It makes me think that the source of funds to pay the court settlement will likely come from Canadian donors. Thanks to Rev. Morrison for this analysis.
Bland Garvey CPA, from Richardson, TX, was the accounting and auditing firm that prepared the financial statements for GFA-US in 2013. In their audit notes they stated that $19.8 million was received from an anonymous donor to help fund the construction of the new GFA head office complex in Wills Point, TX. Later, it was disclosed that this money did not come from an anonymous donor, but instead came from Believers Church in India. Apparently, the auditors did not research the validity of what they had been told by GFA as one would expect, especially given the large amount of money involved.
The idea that money sent to India designated to spread the gospel and help the poor was later returned to the US for an expensive building project was disturbing to donors who learned of this.
Three years passed. In a US federal court hearing with plaintiffs Garland and Phyllis Murphy versus GFA defendants, a new and surprising revelation came to light. The $19.8 million for the US building project did not come from India – it came from Canada!
The court hearing took place on May 16, 2017. On Pg. 32 of the hearing transcript, Judge Timothy Brooks referred to the $20 million that came from GFA-India and the plaintiff’s claim that this money was donor restricted, diverted away from donor’s intents, without donor’s knowledge, and was therefore used fraudulently.
In response, to assure the Court that US funds were not misappropriated, Robert Mowrey, lawyer for the defendants, on page 32, lines 4-19, stated:
The documents – – your Honor, this gets a little complicated, but the documents we have provided to the plaintiffs show that the $20 million did not come from any US donors. This was $20 million that GFA-India had. It was their money. It was sitting in an account in Canada.
There were Canadian donors who had given this money to GFA-India to be used in various purposes. GFA-India directed that money to be given for the campus and then GFA-India fulfilled requests, the specific requests from internal money in GFA-India to replenish the Canadian account.
The bottom line here is that – – and I don’t know if the Court followed that but the bottom line here is that none of the $20 million came from any US donors.
To this the judge replied:
Well, it says in the second sentence that GFA staff confirmed that the funds relating to this donation were originally received by GFA as gifts restricted for the field.
Thus, Mr. Mowrey attempted to avoid allegations of fraud by saying that US-donor money was not used to help fund the new GFA head office. The judge did not agree and contended that even if the $20 million came from Canadian donor-restricted funds they were still – donor restricted! In other words, fraudulent use by GFA-US of Canadian funds was equally as fraudulent as if the money came from US donors. For the judge, the country of origin was not an issue.
As incredible as it seems, the lawyer for GFA implied that GFA-US did not defraud US donors, only Canadian donors – as if to say Canadian donors didn’t matter – it’s OK to cheat Canadians!
It is amazing beyond words that unsuspecting Canadians gave close to $20 million USD to help build an elaborate GFA complex in the USA, all the while believing their donations were spent in India.
The idea that GFA-India money sent from Canada was later replenished by GFA-India in India is absurd. Why not send the money to the US directly from India in the first place? Even if GFA did replenish the Canadian fund, it would still mean that Canadian donor money was not used as donors intended.
More Evidence of Possible Canadian Violations
Later, at a February 16, 2018 hearing, evidence was given that GFA World in Canada possibly breached laws set forth in the Criminal Code of Canada on many counts and might also be guilty of non-compliance with several CRA regulations. (GFA World was formerly known as GFA-Canada.)
On page 62, reference is made to GFA’s Indian bank account. Deposits to this account were made from GFA-Canada’s main bank account at a Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in Hamilton, Ontario, and from there large sums were transferred into an “Indian account” which, in fact, was not located in India, but was actually just a separate account in the same RBC bank. GFA falsely led donors to believe that their donations had gone to India and were used for the reasons the gifts were given. The truth was exactly opposite to their claim – the money was still in Canada.
Also on page 62 of the transcript, reference is made to a letter sent by David Carroll from GFA-US to Sarah Billings of the RBC in Hamilton, requesting that she transfer $20 million from GFA’s Indian account to GFA’s head office in the US. On page 63, Mark. Stanley, lawyer for the plaintiffs, referred to a document showing that this money was received at the GFA head office in Texas.
Apparently, money sitting in the GFA-India RBC account grew to tens of millions of dollars and sat there for an undetermined number of years. These massive amounts of cash undoubtedly earned interest that aided growth. No one other than KP Yohannan and a few of his confidants knew of this. Apparently, even Canadian board members were not informed
A search of FC-6 sites In India FYE 3/31/2015 and FYE 3/31/2016 shows that for the first time, GFA entities in India reported that they received money from Canada
|CANADA TO INDIA FYE 3/31/2015
This is the first year that GFA entities in India reported receiving money from Canada. For the year that ended 12/31/2015, GFA-Canada stated on their T-3010 Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) 2015 Registered Charity Information Return, that they sent $11,105,054 to India. However, the amount reported as received by GFA entities in India from Canada for the period is vastly different – approximately three times the amount. Such discrepancies are common practice for GFA.
| CANADA TO INDIA FYE 3/31/2016
|Total from Canada
The following year GFA-Canada, on their 2016 T-3010 Registered Charity Information Return, did not report to the CRA the huge $70,549,099 that was sent to India. They made no mention of their secret Little Hills Corporation. To say the least, their misstatements to the Canadian and Indian authorities are startling.
Follow the Money
In a recent article in the Christian Post, Francis Chan defended Gospel For Asia against allegations of fraud due to misappropriation of finances.
I have great respect for this man of God. He is a gifted Bible expositor and motivator to love and good works. Bible study groups in my church use his study materials and benefit greatly from them.
I described to an elder in my church the position Francis Chan has taken regarding GFA. He thought for a moment and then spoke of the gifts of the Spirit as described in the New Testament, comparing ministry gifts to gifts of administration. He indicated that there is no doubt that Francis Chan is a gifted minister but added that this does not mean he has the same strength when it comes to functions of administration. Discerning the true nature of GFA’s troubling practices, particularly those by KP Yohannan, cannot be made by one whose eyes are blinded to key facts, regardless of the esteem in which that person is held for other reasons.
I spent three weeks as a guest of GFA in India. I spoke in Kerala at their seminary and later to their head office staff. I toured with some of their leaders and spoke at their Bible training centre and at some of their churches in Tamil Nadu. I travelled to Sri Lanka to speak at their Bible training centre in that country. My daughter, Sharlene, attended the GFA seminary in Kerala for two years and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the year 2000. The teaching staff were well qualified and spiritually minded Sharlene, along with two others, were the first students from the West to attend the seminary. Prior to this she served as a volunteer at GFA’s head office in Dallas, TX, for six months and after graduation she worked at GFA’s Canadian office. My church supported GFA for twenty years.
Nothing in our experience indicated that anything was wrong. I was a strong supporter of GFA and an avid advocate of their ministry encouraging others to support them. As far as I knew there was every reason to applaud voices such as Francis Chan’s in endorsing GFA.
However, the day came when I began to learn that things might not be what I had thought they were. I began to enquire.
Where Is The Field?
My first letter to GFA was dated March 27, 2015 and was followed by a series of letters. When I questioned why $108 million GFA-Canada reported to the CRA they had sent to India over an eight-year period was not reported to the Indian government that it was received, KP Yohannan responded by email and said:
In Canada, GFA India has a bank account owned and controlled by them. When all field donations come into our Canadian office, they are entered according to donor and designation preference by our staff at GFA Canada, and then deposited into the same bank account in Canada controlled by GFA-India. So once the funds are deposited into that account, they are considered received on the mission field and available to the field immediately.
That money deposited in a Canadian bank was considered to be “on the field” was both surprising and alarming. The full impact of this did not become apparent until the Murphy v. GFA court hearings took place and until GFA entities in India reported their 2015 and 2016 foreign incomes.
“Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) is wonderfully true. It is also true that, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1Corinthians 4:6).
Essential to true love is a love of truth, and valid discernment cannot be devoid of truth. The truth of GFA’s deceptive financial practices as evidenced by its use of Canadian donor money is but one example of a much greater picture that remains hidden from the view of many due to repeated denials of the truth.
I pray that someday soon this will end.
When the recent court settlement says that all moneys sent “to the field” were used on the field, it doesn’t mean much when “the field” is this loosely defined. Donors still need to be wary.