Add another shelf-length entry to WorldNetDaily's fraud-laden bookstore.
In an Aug. 19 WND article, Leo Hohmann reports on Jim Staley, "a Bible teacher and pastor with an international ministry pleaded guilty to 11 counts of financial wire fraud earlier this year and was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in federal prison." Here's Hohmann's account of Staley's crime:
He got into trouble in 2007 while working as a financial adviser, more than three years before he became a full-time pastor. He began selling a life-insurance product that he says he was told was fully insured against loss. It was not. When the market crashed in 2008, the investment was wiped out. And along with it went more than $3.3 million from investors who bought the product through Staley.
This is followed a couple paragraphs later by a statement from the FBI, which pretty much contradicts Hohmann's light-touch telling. It points out that Staley "was well aware that if B & B [Equity, the company for which Staley worked] was unable to secure a buyer for the bundled insurance policies that his clients would lose all their monies invested in the Premium Financing product sold by B & B."
Hohmann also hides the fact that while Staley may not have been a "full-time minister" at the time he sold those life-insurance products, he was trading on his Christian credentials to sell them. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that according to a U.S. attorney on the case, Staley's victims were elderly, and some invested because he was a “nice religious man” who referred to at least several by endearing terms such as “Grandma.”
Hohmann is also silent on Staley's financial problems, which raised red flags among some former supporters. His home was foreclosed on, the Post-Dispatch reported, and he admitted refusing to pay income taxes for years. At the time of his indictement, Staley and his family lived in a 5,000-square-foot, $1 million home he claimed to be renting from a former pro baseball player.
Hohmann never reports that Staley has accepted responsibility for his crimes -- that's because he hasn't. The Post-Dispatch reports that Staley continued to deny responsibility even after entering his guilty plea, and he has repaid just $1,950 -- a tiny fraction of the $3.3 million in restitution he owes to victims -- despite an annual church compensation of $127,000.
But here's where it gets real interesting. Hohmann notes that Staley "taught the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith and has many of his teaching DVDs and books for sale in the WND Superstore." Later in his article, he adds:
Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND, said the company will continue to sell Staley’s teaching videos and books.
“Jim Staley is one of the most gifted Bible teachers I know,” he said. “It’s unfortunate he is being punished for something that took place a long time ago, long before he entered the ministry – charges for which he was previously investigated and cleared by state authorities. I pray Jim comes through this and will be able to hold his family together in this time of great challenge.”
So it seems that Hohmann's whitewashing of Staley's crimes comes straight from his boss (who never explains where and how Staley was "cleared by state authorities"). And why not? Staley and Farah are apparently buddies.
Staley interviewed "my good friend" Farah in a 2011 video, where Farah effusively endorses Staley's ministry and "Sabbath-keeping" teaching: "I believe the Holy Spirit is working through Jim Staley, Passion for Truth Ministries and is doing something across the body of Christ right now in a very real and tangible way." Farah praises the"non-offensive, non-confrontational" way Staley teaches, a way "right out of the Bible that makes it very hard to refute."Farah also touted Staley's "vision for really expanding the audience" and declared that "we need to do everything we can to promote, to prosper Passion for Truth Ministries," and that "it's time to open up the checkbook and let our checkbooks do our thank-yous and our feedback because we're all part of the Passion for Truth Ministries family right now."
Farah went on to pledge WND's resources to "do everything we can to promote your ministry, to promote your events gratis," telling Staley: "I do consider you to be my pastor now because I don't have a local congregation that sees the truth like we do."
So of course Farah wouldn't admit Staley's fraud -- he's too personally invested in Staley to see the truth.
Meanwhile, Staley's videos remain on sale at WND -- another fraudster on WND's bookshelf.