AFP: Singapore Pastor Charged in $19 Million Fraud Case
The founder of one of Singapore’s richest churches was charged in court Wednesday for allegedly syphoning off nearly $19 million of the congregation’s money to support his wife’s singing career.
Pastor Kong Hee, 47, faced three charges of “criminal breach of trust” relating to the misuse of the funds of the City Harvest Church, one of Singapore’s biggest with a membership of over 30,000.
Kong was accused of “dishonestly misappropriating monies” from the church’s building fund over several years to support the career of his wife Ho Yeow Sun, who had tried to become a music star in the United States.
The church, which has affiliates in neighbouring Malaysia and other countries, is known for services that resemble pop concerts.
The pastor’s wife, now in her early 40s, was hoping international stardom would help spread the church’s message, according to previous reports in the Singapore media.
Four other church executives were charged Wednesday before a district court for aiding Kong and faced other charges for allegedly attempting to misappropriate millions of dollars from the church’s funds.
Kong and the four others were arrested Tuesday by the Commercial Affairs Department, a police unit set up to fight financial crime, and could face life imprisonment as well as a fine if convicted