Morris Cerullo is an ordained Assembly of God Minister and Healing Evangelist. His personal ministry mansion and two-storey home is over 12,000 sq ft. It is behind two secured gates in the richest neighbourhood in America and has been estimated at over $12 million. Mr Cerullo and his wife are the only two that live there, and report that they are on the foreign field 70% of the time... what a waste of God's money!
Morris Cerullo's sky limousine, a Gulstream G4, is estimated to be worth $50 million. He has two full-time pilots and a stewardess who said in depositions that the plane has a gold-plated interior. He has had three similar private jets since.
Morris Cerullo claims to be a miracle maker, but he is under investigation for being a money taker. John Paul Warren, a former Senior Executive with Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE) has filed a lawsuit claiming he was ousted from the MCWE organization after confronting Cerullo about "unethical and fraudulent fund-raising techniques." This is the second such lawsuit against Cerullo. Warren, who is a highly respected, third-generation, ordained Assemblies of God Minister, filed his suit in May of 2000 in San Diego County Superior Court. He is represented by attorneys Dean Broyles and Tim Rutherford of San Diego, and Hunter Lundy, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Lundy successfully represented Marvin Gorman in his suit against televangelist Jimmy Swaggart in 1991, which resulted in a large verdict against Swaggart."
Cerullo refers to himself as `Dr. Cerullo,' although he does not have any degree earning him this title," says Lundy. "He runs MCWE from offices in San Diego, which he calls `mission control,' but he does not serve as the minister of any physical church or congregation." Cerullo raised millions of dollars and bought the defunct PTL Network, theme park and conference grounds from bankruptcy court after Televangelist Jim Bakker's career ended when he was convicted and sent to federal prison for fraud."
Cerullo purports to have first met God at the age of eight. Since then, his life has apparently been one unbelievable experience after another," says Lundy. "He says he was led out of a Jewish orphanage by two angelic beings; transported to heaven for a face- to-face meeting with God; has the ability to predict the future; can heal the sick; and has told audiences when they look at him they `are looking at God.' He also asks them to `give me your pocket books.' "
According to Broyles, Cerullo's primary focus is raising millions of dollars in the name of God to support his own personal lavish lifestyle both overseas and in the United States. He says, "The victims of Cerullo's tactics and the source of his millions are the elderly, widows and poor here in the United States as well as in distressed third world nations." Broyles says Cerullo's fundraising tactics include direct solicitations, prayer rallies, the sale of videotapes, prayer networks, television marketing and mail campaigns, among others, all of which are based upon misrepresentations and false promises.
Warren, who has first-hand knowledge of MCWE operations, says, "Cerullo made countless promises to his donors he never intended to keep. He would raise money for popular projects that would generate extraordinary donor support, then never do the project, but keep the money." Warren says shortly after moving to San Diego to assume the leadership of MCWE he discovered that Cerullo used the charitable status of MCWE to personally profit. "Cerullo merchandises the gospel for his own personal wealth," says Warren. Warren has asked Cerullo to repent for his deceptive fundraising practices and to return millions to his donors, but Cerullo refused.
Cerullo's son, David Cerullo, runs the former PTL Network, now known as the Inspiration (INSP) Network based in North Carolina, which serves as a primary medium for disseminating Cerullo's solicitation programs and generating names for future fundraising efforts. "Neither Cerullo's MCWE nor his Inspiration Network are financially accountable to any group," says Rutherford. "In fact, Cerullo, his son David and his wife Theresa are all members of MCWE's board of directors."
Warren's attorneys say their sources report 70% of Cerullo's income comes from profit-oriented business activities as opposed to the non-profit activities dictated by his tax- exempt status.
"Cerullo lives in plush comfort in a multi-million dollar mansion behind two security gates on a luxurious estate in the exclusive Ranch Sante Fe neighbourhood, purported to be the richest neighbourhood in the country. MCWE owns and controls numerous business properties, several luxury automobiles and a gold-plated private jet. He is reported to have personally estimated his net worth at 100 million dollars. Does this sound like the lifestyle of a minister of the gospel?" asks Lundy.
Attorneys say trouble seems to be following Cerullo and his MCWE ministry. Numerous former employees have reported possible criminal violations to the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Postal Inspector. Cerullo has been banned from television in Great Britain unless he can authenticate the miracles he supposedly performs, and the Jewish community has protested what they call his underhanded attempts to convert practising Jews to Christianity. In addition, many established, respected religious organizations have distanced themselves from Cerullo and MCWE.Attorneys in this case are deeply concerned that Cerullo's fundraising practices are harmful, especially to the elderly. Earlier this year, Superior Court Judge Linda B. Quinn denied a motion by Cerullo to dismiss Warren's claims. Cerullo appealed Judge Quinn's ruling. He sought immunity from litigation under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The appeal was to be heard in the Superior Court of Appeals of the State of California at the
San Diego County Courthouse at 9am on November 14.
By all accounts, the hearing went well for Cerullo's opponents. Cerullo himself was present with his wife to witness the proceedings. Rather than answer the charges, Cerullo is trying to hide behind the first amendment that states that ministers cannot go to court against one another. The Appeals court will give a ruling within the next 90 days.
John Paul Warren, Cerullo's antagonist, is determined that Cerullo be exposed to the Christian community for his actions. He says he tried for nearly two years to get Cerullo to submit to Church leadership for correction, but predictably Cerullo refused. He says he travelled with Cerullo throughout the world and witnessed his actions first hand. He asked Cerullo to return millions of dollars to the donors, but predictably Cerullo refused. So Warren felt he had no other choice but to take him to court.
The Appellate Court of the State of California ruled Jan 3, 2002 that Cerullo, whose Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE) is based in San Diego, had immunity from litigation under the First Amendment, which precludes the courts from getting involved in the internal disputes of religious groups. MCWE said that the allegations are "100 percent without merit" -- cited the ministerial exemption when it sought a preliminary judgment dismissing Warren's claims. That motion was rejected, but the appeals court upheld it in its December ruling.
Claiming that God was directly speaking through him, Cerullo uttered, "Would you surrender your pocketbooks unto Me, saith God, and let me be the Lord of your pocketbooks....Yea, so be thou obedient unto my voice." (Morris Cerullo, "A Word from God at the Deeper Life World Conference," Deeper Life, March 1982, 15.)
Recently Charisma Magazine out of Lake Wales, owned by Stephen Strang, a graduate of Oral Roberts University and whose room mate there was a Strader, reported that Assembly of God Evangelist Morris Cerullo Faces 'Fraud' Lawsuit: (Strang along with Pastor Karl Strader sits on the board of Regents of Oral Roberts University)
Ex-employee alleges donors were defrauded. Assembly of God Evangelist Morris Cerullo is being sued by a former employee who has accused the San Diego, Calif.-based ministry leader of defrauding donors.
The suit has been filed by John Paul Warren, an Assemblies of God (AG) minister who served as an executive at Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE) headquarters for 18 months, until he was fired in October 1999. It is expected to go to trial in June.
Filed last May, Warren's claims include fraud, violation of the California Labor Code and misuse of Warren's confidential 5,000-name mailing list. Cerullo himself has said that he cannot comment on the allegations until the suit is resolved, but the MCWE board of directors said in a statement the charges were "100 percent without merit."
In the lawsuit, filed in San Diego Superior Court, Warren alleges that Cerullo persuaded him to join MCWE by promising he would become Cerullo's "partner," "second in command," and eventual "successor." As a result, Warren says, he gave up ministries he had founded in northern California and turned his donor database over to MCWE.
But the promises "never materialized nor were they ever intended to," says the suit. It also claims that during Warren's travel with Cerullo, he became concerned about "unethical and fraudulent fundraising techniques." He cites the promise of satellite dishes - which he says were never given - to donors making a $1,500 gift to the ministry.
Rick Towne, an attorney representing Cerullo, said that MCWE had made it clear to donors that the dish offer was contingent on negotiations with system providers and that the offer had been handled legally.
Warren's suit also claims that an AG church in Oregon reversed its decision to hire him after learning of his lawsuit against Cerullo. Warren alleges that MCWE officials' interference damaged his relationship with the AG and affected his future job prospects.
The MCWE board statement said that prior to filing his lawsuit, Warren had demanded $2.2 million not to sue. He had been asked to submit his grievances to binding Christian arbitration, but refused. Warren said he would go to nonbinding arbitration if MCWE paid all expenses, the board said.
Another suit against Cerullo was recently settled out of court. Harry Turner, a MCWE vice president who resigned in November 1999, said that the agreement prevented him from revealing the amount of the settlement. According to a letter on court file, Turner's attorney had asked for $800,000 to settle "short of litigation." Turner's list of grievances against Cerullo included allegations of lies and fraud by Cerullo to his donors.
Davis Frast, a public information officer and postal inspector with the Postal Inspection Service, said that his agency had received complaints about Cerullo's ministry and that it was in the first stages of an investigation.
Back in the 90's Assembly of God Evangelist Morris Cerullo had a telethon on national telethon with a special guest Robert Tilton. The purpose was to collect money to buy back Jim Bakker's Heritage USA, the Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina, founded by Jim Bakker. In the 1980s, Heritage USA attracted 6 million visitors annually and employed more than 2,000 people.
Evangelist Cerullo was successful in his undertaking and the park stayed opened for a few years but nevertheless closed its door closed November 30, 1997. But unknown to most people was the fact that Morris Cerullo undertook this venture because the number one boss of the Assembly of God denomination Thomas E. Trask asked him to do it. The Assembly of God denomination through its different superintendents was a driving and controlling force behind Jim Bakker's PTL Club.
Jeffrey K. Hadden, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville reported that 'A little-known clause in the Heritage USA charter bequeaths the entire kingdom to the Assemblies of God in the event that Jim and Tammy were not able to reign?"
Karl Strader has gone on record to state that I was one of those who helped him build PTL,", "and I never did know what he did wrong, frankly. And if he did do something wrong, I forgive him, and I know everybody else here forgives him," said After getting out from prison Baker once spoke at Carpenter's Home church and said Strader's wife, Joyce, wrote him a letter once a week while he was in prison.
What was significant was the Robert Tilton was never part of the Assembly of God or PTL Club crowd. He was an independent "faith' evangelist who saw the value of television and the buy back of Heritage USA included its state of the art Television facilities and dishes. (Oral Roberts also competed in this venture against Morris Cerullo and lost!)
The secular news media reported that in the Brownsville Assembly of God revival four pastors involved in the revival each set up personally owned non profit corporations to profit from the revival. Unfortunately for the sheep it's very common in America for TV Evangelists and even pastors and preachers to be con artists and thieves.
Although it's an American Federal law that all non profit corporations, including universities and Evangelical ministries, must release to the public their five top salaries few of the Religious ones do it
A former Pentecostal pastor sentenced to prison recently for fleecing his Colorado congregation admitted doing "some horrible, horrible, things," as a handful of church members sat in court.
According to "The Colorado Springs Gazette," John Harris, who previously led the First Assembly of God church in Canon City, received a 21-month federal prison term Tuesday for embezzling more than $350,000 from the congregation, based near Denver.
"I am sorry for the deep wounds inflicted by the crimes of fraud, deceit and lies I have committed," Harris, 41, said in court. Without authorization, he opened an account in the church's name and took loans using forged authorization from church leaders. Harris spent the cash on a spa, a golf course membership and stocks.
"He let his desires to be successful blind him to the folly of what he was doing," said Harris' attorney, Warren Williamson, who sought leniency, citing his client's family, children and history of good works.
Judge Walker Miller said the pastor pursued "the altar of the material god." "It is not my job to forgive you," Miller said, the "Gazette" reported. "It is my job to punish you." Harris' wife, Linda, will be sentenced next week for her role in the scheme.
John Harris, Morris Cerullo, and Karl Strader are only the tip of the iceberg of many scoundrels in the Assembly of God denomination who use the sheep for their own gain. Then we have others like Dr. Henry J. Lyons, Billy, Ned and Franklin Graham, Robert Tilton, Jim Bakker to name a few.