‘He Could be Anywhere’: Georgia Man on the Run Pretended to be a Missionary to Swindle $33M Out of Charities and Donors Looking to Give Bibles to the Chinese, Feds Say

Federal authorities are currently pursuing a fake Christian proselytizer who allegedly redirected more than $30 million from Christian charities and private donors, telling them the funds would go to Bible distribution in China. 

Now an international manhunt is on for the fugitive, who is said to have taken some of the money and spent it on high-priced diamonds and parties.

Missionary steals over $33 million
Authorities are looking for Jason Gerald Shenk. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/13 WMAZ)

The Department of Justice has released a federal indictment exposing Jason Gerald Shenk’s alleged misappropriation of over $33 million.

The funds, intended for producing and distributing Bibles and Christian literature, were purportedly used by Shenk to indulge in buying a ton of luxury items for himself, according to the indictment obtained by Atlanta Black Star.

According to the Justice Department, Jason Gerald Shenk is accused of recklessly spending charity funds, which were entrusted to him, on many unauthorized purchases and expenditures.

Among these startling expenditures were $1 million on an online sports gambling website, $850,000 invested in equity shares of a privately held American nuclear energy company, and $4 million spent on 16 life insurance policies held in others’ names.

The indictment also reveals lavish purchases such as nearly $1 million worth of diamonds and gold, $7 million directed towards his family’s farm, and $820,000 spread across at least ten credit cards. Moreover, Shenk allegedly invested $188,000 in domestic and foreign stocks and acquired real estate in a different continent, purchasing a property worth $320,000 in the “Galt’s Gulch” development in Santiago, Chile.

The fake missionary, who worked under the guise of an organization called Morning Star Ministry, was able to keep this scam going for years. 

According to the indictment, his scheme was placed in motion in April 2010 and lasted until July 2019. From that span of time, he stole $22 million from one organization listed as Charity 1 and $10 million from another listed as Charity 2.

To cover his trail, the indictment says, he would make up phony statistics about how many Bibles were distributed to different Chinese provinces to give to those charities he was supposedly working with.

He also allegedly lied to international banks about the amount of wealth he and his family had.

The feds believe in 2016, Shenk renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid financial reporting requirements under federal law.

Now Shenk is on the run and faces a litany of charges. Prosecutors are looking to hit him with four counts of wire fraud, three counts of international concealment money laundering, 13 counts of concealment money laundering, 21 counts of money laundering involving transactions greater than $10,000, and one count of failure to file to report a foreign bank account.

The Justice Department is collaborating with ABN Amro Bank in Singapore, Citibank in Singapore, and Bank of America in the Continental U.S.A., all banks where he set up accounts, as part of the ongoing investigation.

A warrant has been issued for Shenk, but no one really knows where he is.

“He could be anywhere. We think we might know where he is. We aren’t at liberty to say where we think he is, but we think we might know,” Barry Paschal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia said to The Daily Beast in an interview.

Once he is located and if he is found guilty of these charges, he could face up to 20 years in prison and “substantial financial penalties and forfeitures.”

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