Minister Concealed Use of Funds from Church Members to Acquire a $1.75 Million Residence and 11 Luxury Vehicles Worth Over a Million in the Names of Church Members
U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Robert J. Freeman, a/k/a “Dr. Shine,” age 56, of Indian Head, Maryland, today to 27 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for obstructing bankruptcy court proceedings. Judge Titus also entered an order that Freeman pay $631,050.52 in restitution.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“The evidence shows that Robert J. Freeman lived a life of fraud and deception, using millions of dollars from church members and fraudulently obtained credit to pay for luxury cars and a mansion while falsely representing in court that he was indigent,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
“Concealing assets and making false statements in bankruptcy court is a crime,” stated Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office. “The prosecution of individuals, such as Mr. Freeman, who intentionally conceal assets and commit bankruptcy fraud ranks high on the list of IRS Criminal Investigation’s enforcement priorities. Today’s sentencing is an example of how serious the courts perceive the violation of U.S. bankruptcy law.”
According to his guilty plea, Freeman served as pastor and leader of Save the Seed Ministry, Inc., Save the Seed International Church, and Seed Faith International Church, which he incorporated in 1991, 2001 and 2003, respectively. Shortly after February 2001, Freeman used funds from church members to accumulate substantial assets, including 11 luxury cars valued at over $1,073,000 and a $1.75 million residence in Indian Head, Maryland, which he concealed from the bankruptcy court when he sought a discharge of his debts from the court in 2005.
More specifically, from 2002 to 2006, Freeman caused two Lincoln Town cars, two Mercedes Benz cars, two Volkswagon Phaetons, a Bentley Arnage vehicle and a $1.75 million residence on the Potomac River to be purchased in the names of church members. The Maryland residence, located in Indian Head, comprised about 9,000 square feet, with a deep water pier, a 20,000 pound covered boat lift, a jet ski lift, two four car garages, five fireplaces and a gym with steam room. Freeman also caused a Maybach vehicle to be leased in the name of a church member.