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K.P. Yohannan faces allegations of siphoning charitable donations

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DALLAS (DIYA TV) — K.P. Yohannan, a Kerala-born Indian American missionary founded and runs Gospel for Asia — the second-largest of Christian missionary agencies in the United States — has been accused in a class-action lawsuit of fraudulently soliciting charitable donations, then shifting said donations to personal his personal bank accounts. Several other affiliates have been implicated as co-conspirators in the lawsuit, as well as members of Yohannan’s family.

Yohannan now resides in Dallas-Fort Worth in north Texas.

The organization was founded in 1978, and has presences in several countries such as Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Laos and Thailand. It operates primarily in India. Gospel for Asia broadcasts itself as an organization which supplies the “poorest of the poor” with food, provisions and a Christian message. However, lead attorney in the lawsuit, Marc R. Stanley, said in a statement released last week that the organization has instead been exploiting the goodwill of Christians in the United States.

“K.P. Yohannan and his Gospel for Asia inner circle have been exploiting the goodwill and generosity of devout Christians around the country for years. Gospel for Asia should return all the money it’s taken from donors who thought they were contributing to charity,” Stanley said.

K.P. Yohannan

K.P. Yohannan

The lawsuit alleges the fraudulent solicitations amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars. It was filed in U.S. federal court by the Dallas-based Stanley Law Group, and comes just four months after the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) cut ties with Gospel for Asia, citing violations in five of the ECFA’s seven core standards.

“Allegations were made that GFA had upwards of $150 million in partner field accounts, far more than necessary to provide appropriate operating reserves. During our visit on June 3, ECFA was informed that GFA field partner cash reserves were approximately $7 million,” John C. Van Drunen, executive vice president of the ECFA, said in a signed statement.

In the 108-page court document, plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that Gospel for Asia, Yohannan, and other officials of the organization misrepresented to its donors how, where and when their charitable donations would be spent. It further alleges that instead of using the money for missionary purposes, Yohannan and GFA instead allocated the money for personal use, various for-profit businesses, and its lavish headquarters.

Matthew and Jennifer Dickson, named plaintiffs in the suit, have charged Yohannan with violations of the RICO statute — a law which focuses primarily on racketeering and is reserved for groups who knowingly participate in organized crime — violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as fraud and unjust enrichment.

According to the lawsuit, Gospel for Asia solicited over $450 million in the United States alone between the years of 2007 and 2013. North of one million unique donations are made to the organization each year from tens of thousands who give a one-time or recurring donation, however, despite explicit guarantees from GFA to donors, only a fraction of the donated money supports the people and causes for which it was donated. Instead, Yohanann and others used the money for personal use, the lawsuit said.

gospeal-for-asia

Yohannan’s wife and board member, Gisela, and son, who is organization’s vice president, Daniel, are named defendants in the lawsuit.

As a foreign charity operating in India, Gospel for Asia is required to publicly account for all funds it spends inside the country, pursuant to the Indian Foreign Contribution Regulation Act of 2010. Examinations of the FC-6 reports submitted to the Indian government for Believers Church, Gospel for Asia-India, and the related limited liability companies of Last Hour Ministries and Love India Ministries reveal just how small of an amount the organization sends to the country, according to the lawsuit.

Arts & Culture

Indian CEO’s meet with President Trump in London

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Indian CEOs and Trump

LONDON (Diya TV) — A number of prominent Indian CEOs from the US and the UK met with President Trump during a breakfast roundtable on his visit to London. Members of the American cabinet were also in attendance, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, as well as the president’s daughter, Ivanka.

The Punjab government announced free education for girls in government schools and colleges from Nursery school to the PhD level. They also announced free Wi-FI for 13,000 schools and all 48 government colleges.

Rayna Gokli McIntyre will be a new District Court Judge in Colorado, becoming the second South Asian member to the bench in that state.

In New Jersey, Zahid Quraishi was named a U.S. Magistrate Judge, becoming the first Asian American federal judge in that state.

And Karamjit and Karawjit Singh took danger to new heights with this coconut and melon smashing display on America’s Got Talent, all while wearing a blindfold.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump ends $5.6B GSP trade preference for India

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Trump is ending $5.6 billion worth of trade concessions for India under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences program effective this week, saying India failed to assure the U.S. that it would provide ‘equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India.

Bay Area Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo reintroduced a bill to save work authorization visas for H-4 holders whose spouses are on track to get a green card. Many of those eligible are Indian American women.

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education released new social studies standards, which for the first time include Sikhism. Nearly 700,000 students in Oklahoma public schools will now learn more about the Sikh community, in this effort spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition.

The Golden State Warriors played through two more injuries to rotation players to beat the Raptors in Toronto 109-104 to even the NBA Finals at a game a piece.

Diya TV’s Ravi Kapur and Jonathan Choe are on-site and will have more courtside.

And we talk to the stars of Netflix’s newest romantic comedy ‘Always Be My Maybe,’ a feature that offers a story & characters Asian Americans will find relatable from some of the most talented names in Hollywood.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Arts & Culture

Campaigning stopped in West Bengal due to violence

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West Bengal violence

KOLKATA, India (Diya TV) — For the first time in India’s electoral history, the Election Commission ordered campaigning to stop a day early in West Bengal because of violence between political factions in Kolkata.

SAALT released an overview of the growth in the South Asian demographic around America and it shows the community is increasing exponentially.

SAALT says the South Asian population in the U.S. grew a stunning 40% in seven years, from 3.5 million in 2010 to 5.4 million in 2017.

The first ever Sikh American mayor of a large city, Ravi Bhalla, was portrayed by a New Jersey-based website in a photoshopped image as an Arab dictator. Supporters of Bhalla, who is the mayor of Hoboken, are denouncing the image as racist and want the “Hudson Mile Square View” to take it down.

And the Indian government held an event at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the world’s largest film industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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