Possible rewrite: Alleged Misappropriation: Funds Raised for Bibles Supposedly Diverted to Sports Gambling

Sports Betting Scandal: Man Spent $30M Fundraising Proceeds on Gambling

Updated: August 1, 2023, 07:57h.

A shocking scandal has emerged in the world of sports betting. A man, Jason Gerald Shenk, is now being sought after it was discovered that he spent over $30 million, which was raised through a massive fundraising effort, on gambling activities. What makes this scandal even more outrageous is that Shenk had initially claimed that the funds would be used to support Bibles and Christian literature in China.

Jill E. Steinberg
Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, pictured above. She announced the indictment of a man who allegedly misused money raised for religious outreach. (Image: Law.com)

According to federal authorities, approximately $1 million of the illicit funds were spent on an online sports gambling website, while the rest was either used for personal expenses or invested elsewhere.

Shenk, aged 45 and formerly from Dublin, Georgia, has been formally indicted on 37 federal charges related to his fraudulent actions.

An unsealed indictment has revealed that Shenk is facing multiple charges, including four counts of wire fraud, three counts of international concealment money laundering, 13 counts of concealment money laundering, 21 counts of money laundering involving transactions over $10,000, and one count of failure to report a foreign bank account.

Shenk’s scheme targeted charities and individuals in Ohio, North Carolina, and other locations. The unsuspecting victims believed that their donations were going towards Christian outreach, specifically the publishing and distribution of Bibles and other religious literature in China. Instead, the majority of the funds were transferred to various shell corporations over a period of nine years.

Prosecutors claim that Shenk managed to raise approximately $22 million from one charitable organization and its donors, as well as an additional $10 million from another charity and its donors.

In an attempt to evade financial reporting requirements, Shenk renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2016.

If convicted, Shenk could face up to 20 years in prison, the forfeiture of any assets related to the offenses, financial penalties, and supervised release afterwards, as stated by Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

“When people of faith donate money for evangelistic purposes, they reasonably expect those who solicit their donations to act as faithful stewards of those funds,” Steinberg said in a statement.

“This case alleges an egregious breach of that trust at the expense of multiple charities and individual donors.”

The indictment also reveals that Shenk had presented himself as a Christian missionary dedicated to various mission projects in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.

Investment Details

Further investigation into Shenk’s activities has uncovered the following investment details:

Around $850,000 was invested in a privately-held nuclear energy company.

Approximately $4 million was used to purchase 16 or more life insurance policies.

Approximately $1 million was spent on the acquisition of diamonds, gold, and precious metals.

Additionally, over $7 million was redirected to the company managing Shenk’s family farm. More than $820,000 was utilized for credit card purchases, and $320,000 was used to acquire real estate in Santiago, Chile.

Furthermore, over $188,000 was spent on domestic and foreign stocks.

For Potential Victims

Federal authorities are urging anyone who believes they may have been defrauded by Shenk to contact them at 478-752-6810.

If anyone has information regarding Shenk’s current whereabouts, they are also advised to call the same number to notify officials.

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