GRANT RECEIVES PRISON TERM

Televangelist W.V. Grant was ordered to federal prison by a U.S. district judge for tax fraud. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison and fined $30,000. He could be released in 13 months for good behavior. Upon discharge, he will be required to serve one year’s probation and do 100 hours of community service.

His conviction resulted from voluntarily filing an inaccurate income tax report. An investigation found that the faith healer and his third wife, Brenda, had used $100,000 of church resources for payment on their $1.2 million, nine-bathroom mansion, which overlooks a south Dallas suburb country club in DeSoto, Texas. According to an Associated Press report, Grant “admitted using church-related funds to make payments in 1990 on his home and another house he bought as an investment.” None of these properties had been listed as assessment revenue.

In April, the Grants admitted tax fraud. Grant had acknowledged that in the years leading up to 1990 he had failed to disclose over $375,000 of income. He was penalized and owes between $70,000 and $120,000 in back taxes.

On July 22, the Grants tried to withdraw their earlier guilty plea. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Grant as saying, “I teach in my ministry that a mistake is not a sin. I could not honestly plead guilty if we did not intentionally defraud anyone.”

Judge Joe Kendall criticized Grant for trying to change his previous plea, which had been submitted under oath. The judge refused to allow him to withdraw the plea. Grant’s wife, however, was permitted to withdraw her plea and will be tried later. Grant was turned over to U.S. marshals for incarceration.

Grant’s life and ministry appear to have been enveloped in dishonesty. Early in his career, in what was viewed as an effort to enhance his reputation and validate his prophetic claims, he claimed to be a direct prophetic successor to William Branham. However, when factual inconsistencies in Grant’s claims were disclosed, the Grant family acknowledged that the passing of Branham’s prophetic mantle did not occur and that “the story reflects a spiritual truth drawn from a vision” (see The Healer-Prophet, William Marrion Branham by Douglas Weaver, pp. 148-149).

Grant also had recently claimed that a tornado had damaged his home, sending out a “Disaster-Gram,” pleading with those on his mailing list to help him and his family during the tragic time. According to city officials, no tornado hit the televangelist’s home or, for that matter, any house on the street.

The 50-year-old Grant has been pastor of the Eagle’s Nest Family Church in DeSoto for 13 years. He recently directed the church to change its name to Church of Compassion and transferred its property to charismatic evangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes. The April 14 edition of The Dallas Morning News indicated that Dallas County deed records revealed that on Feb. 14, 1996, Grant had sold three properties to T.D. Jakes Ministries. Their value, for tax purposes, was in excess of $4 million.

Much of Grant’s distress was sparked by an investigative report in 1991 by ABC-TV’s PrimeTime Live, that included segments on Robert Tilton and Larry Lea. Evangelist watchdog Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation helped spearhead the report.

—AMG

 

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