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Mon Dec 18, 2017, 11:54 PM

Megachurch swindles elderly woman in Ohio, lawsuit claims

A megachurch in Ohio is accused of coercing an elderly woman to hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars, CBS Chicago reports. The woman is mentally ill and has dementia. She is now under the care of the Cook County public guardian, who is fighting to reclaim her life-savings.

Bridget Pollard, 76, has lived by herself since her husband died in 2015. The childless woman lived in hoarding conditions and blocked relatives' efforts to help her, Pollard's niece Bridget Johnson says.

Her niece says that Pollard emptied out her late husband's state pension, and it wasn't long before she wrote a $340,000 check, payable to Grace Cathedral. The megachurch in Akron, Ohio, televises the ministry of Rev. Ernest Angley.

"She was basically stalked by church to give money," Dawn Lawkowski-Keller of the Public Guardian's Office says. "The literature talks about how you'll go to heaven if you give this money."


I'm pleased to see Cook County officials getting involved in recovering this woman's money.

EDIT: The original article is from CBS news

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Reply Megachurch swindles elderly woman in Ohio, lawsuit claims (Original post)
Adsos Letter Dec 2017 OP
kimbutgar Dec 2017 #1
cmeneer Dec 2017 #2
Igel Dec 2017 #3
trotsky Dec 2017 #4
MineralMan Dec 2017 #5

Response to Adsos Letter (Original post)

Tue Dec 19, 2017, 12:21 AM

1. That happened to my Mother's elderly cousin

This church helped her get a lawyer to draft a will to get her to hand over her home and her
savings to a church when she died. She wasn’t rich but it was obscene what they did. Her only living relative nephew had to pay for her funeral because the church took over her estate quickly. They wouldn’t cover her burial expenses. It soured me on jehovah witnesses.

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 19, 2017, 05:53 AM

2. Grace

Cathedral is not Jehovah, but a "healing" type mega church. They are proven SCAMMERS but still find plenty of followers through the TV ministry. They, like most of the mega churches, need to fork over some taxes on the money in their coffers!

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Response to Adsos Letter (Original post)

Tue Dec 19, 2017, 06:57 AM

3. The article leaves out some info.

The woman has dementia. At some point, she should have had a guardian and custodian appointed. The best person to do this is a relative.

People suffering from dementia seldom say, "Oh, yeah, sure--please have me declared incompetent, and thank you." That's one reason there are courts--to make this kind of determination. It looks nefarious to have a relative stranger (as opposed to a strange relative) seek guardianship and, I assume, custodianship, but if the niece wasn't up to it then the option is leaving the woman there until she hurts herself severely and law enforcement fingers her for needed help.

People who relatives "try to help" often develop a lot of animus against their relatives for trying to strip them of autonomy and take control over their money. Not sure that's a "dementia" thing or not. Look at most teenagers.

And a single note from a doctor attesting to incompetence isn't enough. At least not in the state my mother was in. You start with that, collect more information, the court appoints an expert approved by the court-appointed lawyer defending the person accused of dementia ... And so it goes. During that time "coercion" is a loaded term. Such a person might do nothing; such a person might give away everything. My brother's grandmother was "coerced" by the nice woman mail carrier into giving her a lot of jewelry. Except that "coercion" was really just being a friend or at least friendly to somebody who was completely alone.

Until then, though, it's hard to prove that a person with dementia is coerced. They suffer from dementia. After that, you need a timeline: When did she do what, when was she diagnosed.

My aunt gave all her money to a nephew. "Coerced"? No, but one of the few people to actually call her up every month or so and express sympathy. She was a bit dotty, but it's unclear she suffered from any diagnosable dementia. And my SIL give a lot of cash to a church that was there and supported her for years during a long struggle with cancer. (Her family was fine, it wasn't like they were reduced to penury--she was married to the nephew who got the inheritance.)

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Response to Igel (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 19, 2017, 09:15 AM

4. Yeah, you're right, the family asked for this.

Quit blaming the victim and her family. The church stole her money. They are at fault here. You have absolutely no idea what their family situation was like, so don't fucking judge.

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Response to Adsos Letter (Original post)

Tue Dec 19, 2017, 09:32 AM

5. But...but...if they get her money back, she won't

go to Heaven.

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