Pastor Trevón Gross, endorsed by televangelist Joel Osteen, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the Coin.mx exchange case, which involved bribery and use of a long-established church credit union. He’s the third person to be sentenced in the case.
Also read: Wild Case of Religion, Bitcoin, Hacking, Ends in Prison Sentences
Joel Osteen-Endorsed Pastor Sentenced to Prison in Church Exchange Case
Non-denominational Christian Pastor Trevón Gross, founder of Hope Cathedral in New Jersey (a sect of what is known as charismatic Christianity or Evangelical), was sentenced to five years in prison and a 12,000 USD fine for his role in the Coin.mx case.
Authorities allege in United States of America v. Anthony R. Murgio, Yuri Lebedev, Trevón Gross the Pastor played a key role in enabling his co-defendants to operate an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange, Coin.mx, by allowing the two other men access to his church’s credit union.
Credit unions operate under slightly different reporting laws, often operating more informally with regard to reporting regulations and know-your-customer (KYC) laws.
Pastor Gross of Hope Cathedral, authorities maintain, as Chairman of the Board for the church’s Hope Federal Credit Union handed over effective operations of the bank to two Florida men while receiving upwards of 150,000 USD in bribes. The Pastor insists he believed the money to be donations.
Endorsed by Televangelist Joel Osteen
The Pastor continued his official ministerial work throughout the indictment, arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing. According to the church’s website as of this writing, he maintains “degrees from the University of Virginia, Duke University and further graduate work at Harvard University.” No mention is made of his involvement with Coin.mx nor the surrounding legal troubles.
He is well-known in Prosperity Gospel circles, appearing on the Trinity Broadcast Network, and was endorsed, shortly before the present scandal law enforcement began investigating, by noted televangelist Joel Osteen.
Not long after, Hope Cathedral’s credit union was being linked to a money laundering exchange due to Pastor Gross’ placing two men now serving prison sentences on the bank’s board. The exchange that ran through his Chairmanship was linked by authorities to an international crime syndicate, authorities claim, which is said “to be responsible for a data breach at JPMorgan Chase Co, revealed in 2014, that exposed more than 83 million accounts,” according to Brendan Pierson of Reuters.
The Bitcoin Scandal that Never Was
Mainstream media outlets continue to link phrasing like “money laundering” to bitcoin, and this particular conspiracy carried the eye-popping detail of being loosely-associated with “cyber attacks” resulting in one hundred million people potentially being victims of identity theft.
And while bitcoin was surely exchanged, the real issues seem to be institutional corruption and time-honored business fronting scams. Bitcoin just happened to be a sexy headline association, nothing more.
Real victims are those who depended upon the Pastor’s credit union’s funds, belonging to people who were mostly low-income, which was later seized and liquidated.
What do you think of the Coin.mx case? Tell us in the comments below!
Images courtesy of: Robert M. Worsham Wikimedia Commons, Hope Cathedral, Defender Network.
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