Evangelist Mel Tari, whose best-selling book "Like a Mighty Wind" claimed to detail miracles that occurred during the 1950s and 1960s, has been ordered to pay a former supporter approximately $1.1 million for fraud.
After a four-day trial in late June, an Orange County (Calif.) Superior Court judge ruled Tari had "conned" Christine Kline out of her inheritance.
It is unclear whether Tari will appeal the ruling.
Kline, 41, a former Youth with a Mission worker, was heir to a small fortune in corporate stock. She met Tari in 1985 and told him of her interest in using the stock assets to support herself and others in mission work.
Tari convinced Kline that he would set up a trust fund with the money. But instead, he sold $400,000 in stocks and used the proceeds to invest in a resort company. Tari claimed the funds had been a gift.
During the trial, accounts from Tari's books were read, detailing miracles performed in Indonesia, including a legless man growing legs instantly after Tari's prayers. Kline testified that, at the time, she believed Tari had special powers to work physical and financial miracles.
The judge ordered Tari to pay $725,000 in damages. With interest, the award was estimated to be $1.1 million.1
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