Department Justice indicted
A federal grand jury has indicted a Virginia man for allegedly duping a North Carolina church to invest more than $740,000 in a fraudulent religion-themed entertainment venue, the U.S. Department of Justice said. (AP File Photo)

Man Indicted for Defrauding North Carolina Church and Members

By Associated Press

A federal grand jury has indicted a Virginia man for allegedly duping a North Carolina church and its members to invest more than $740,000 in a fraudulent religion-themed family entertainment venue, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte said in a news release that Michael Mandel Baldwin, 52, of Alexandria, Virginia, made fraudulent statements to people at the church about “Miracle Mansion” and then solicited investments. Baldwin also made the claims to individuals and entities across the U.S., including in Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia, according to the indictment.

As part of the scheme, prosecutors said, Baldwin created and distributed promotional materials to potential investors that described Miracle Mansion as “a one-of-a-kind entertainment complex” for the Washington, D.C. region. It would “provide a high-quality performing arts experience that promotes family-focused inspiration, entertainment and enrichment anchored by a Biblical worldview.”

In addition, Baldwin falsely told potential investors that The Kennedy Center and high-level executives at Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A had endorsed and supported Miracle Mansion, according to the news release.

Baldwin is formally charged with wire fraud and securities fraud. Each indictment carries a sentence of 20 years in prison.

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9 thoughts on “Man Indicted for Defrauding North Carolina Church and Members”

    1. In Canada they would do nothing. We invested $500,000 in a
      United Reformed Church of North America member’s business and the couple refused to repay us.
      We asked their church leaders for help to which they replied “How a our members conduct themselves in business is not their jurisdiction.” This is the church leadership of today.

  1. As a Libertarian, I am not in favor of these “buyer’s remorse” prosecutions. Nobody puts a gun to your head and forces you to make a risky investment. Big Brother is not there to be your avenger because you made a foolhardy financial choice. Let the market reign.

      1. Jack Van Halteren,

        Adultery, gossip, homosexual sex, drunkenness are all unbiblical too–do you propose the feds arrest every person who has ever done those things?

          1. Jack Van Halteren,

            You just said it–one of the duties OF THE CHURCH. It’s not Uncle Sam’s job to be the personal avenger of folks who bought into get-rich-quick schemes. I agree with Susan Jones below–why does a body of Christ have any business investing in amusement parks to begin with?

            If you want to see the people start making wiser financial choices, get the feds out of regulating consensual choices.

    1. As someone who works in wealth management, I agree. If your church has extra money lying around (was it PPP money??) to invest in a theme park, there is something wrong with your church. Churches having these “endowments” is one of the reasons I tell families again and again and again to designate gifts you want the church to receive after a loved one dies. If not, the funds will never get used for anything of purpose and will build up in a kitty that someone at the church will keep their iron first around it even if the roof is leaking. Trust me. I’ve been on both sides of the issue and those fingers rarely let go of the money.

      Back to the church……the fact that they didn’t look into the deal or the person is THEIR fault. No one elses.

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