An employee of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries (JSM) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been arrested on charges of embezzling more than $750,000 from the ministry. John Clouser, 34, was arrested last November after the ministry discovered that $90,000 was missing from the sale of a Texas property donated to JSM. The state has charged him with money-laundering, bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft. A federal investigation is pending.Clouser worked at JSM for about ten years, most recently as director of development. He handled leases, property rentals, and trust documents, according to a JSM official. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that Clouser also allegedly stole $110,000 in retirement funds that his mother had entrusted to him. He spent the money on a number of girlfriends, buying flowers, renting limousines, and keeping a furnished apartment, the report says.Barry Miller, attorney for the ministry, says police found boxes of the organization's Bibles, books, tapes, and compact discs—worth between $10,000 and $15,000—in Clouser's home. "Mr. Clouser was a very trusted employee, and people at the ministry were very shocked and hurt by his actions," Miller told Christianity Today. "He let a lot of people down."

Related Elsewhere

Coverage of the case in the Baton Rouge Advocate includes "Man charged in theft case at BR ministry"(Jan. 19, 2000) and "Swaggart ministry funds embezzled | Man booked with stealing $800,000" (Nov. 17, 1999).No information on the embezzlement was found on the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries site. Randall Balmer's article "Still Wrestling with the Devil | A visit with Jimmy Swaggart ten years after his fall" appeared in the March 2, 1998 issue of our print magazine.

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