US church that lost almost $800,000 to a scammer started a fundraiser to recoup its losses. Response is dismal.

IN a heartfelt plea for $793,848, pastor Johnny Blevins, above, of North Carolina’s Elkin Valley Baptist Church, relates in a GoFundMe video how the church had “prayerfully saved toward a new worship center for over ten years”, then lost more than half of its savings.

But the appeal, launched after the church fell victim to a cyber-criminal late last year, is not getting the traction Blevins and his congregation is praying for. Few are stepping up to the plate, and so far only $7,761 has been raised.

What happened was this: Elkin Valley received a bill purportedly sent by a contractor working on the project, and it coughed up the cash.

As per GoFundMe:

The thief created an exact replica of our contractor’s invoice, compromised a staffer’s computer and as a result $793,848.10 was wired by our church to the scammer’s bank account.

With construction underway and half of the raised funds now gone, we’ve had to take out a costly loan for the construction to continue.

Proverbs 24:10 teaches us, ‘If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!’ So while the loss is great and the task large, through the grace of God and the kindness of so many—we will overcome and emerge stronger.

Florida Baptist Convention also targeted

Details of the church’s woes are contained in a Religion News report this week that centred on a more recent victim of cyber-crime: the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC).

It sent more than $700,000 mission money to the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the ailing Southern Baptist Convention to help pay for church planting. Then the money disappeared.

As an aside: The SBC is currently suffering “its steepest membership drop in over a century” due in part to a massive a sex scandal.

As my Hungarian friend Tom Hora is fond of saying: “Karma, honeypuddle, karma!”

On its website the “disheartened” FBC said:

As you can imagine, our convention staff and state board of missions is [sic] distraught over this loss of financial resources.

It is our desire in all that we do to bring glory to our Lord and Savior, and to continue earning the trust of the churches we serve when we distribute the sacrificial resources given through tithes and offerings. Due to the reserves already in place, the commitments we have made to support churches and cooperating ministries serving the state of Florida will all be honored.

Florida Baptist staff received an email that claimed to be from NAMB but was not. The email requested funds be sent to a new account number. The fraudulent email reflected “a general knowledge of the communications and practice between the SBC entity and the convention.”

The convention said in a statement:  

An investigation is being launched to determine how this knowledge was gained. At this time, we have no reason to suspect malfeasance by any convention employees.

Florida Baptists hope that some of the losses will be recovered.

We remain prayerful that some of this loss may be mitigated through insurance and/or the recovery of stolen funds.

I should point out that GoFundMe and similar sites have varying degree of success. The one I launched after I was sacked without due process as editor of The Freethinker did not come anywhere close my target but it brought in enough to launch The Angry Atheist in January, 2023.

You can also support my work via a one-off donation via PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or GofundMe.

If you spot any typos in this report please notify me at

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8 responses to “US church that lost almost $800,000 to a scammer started a fundraiser to recoup its losses. Response is dismal.”

  1. stephenharvie Avatar

    Sending prayers (and very gay ones at that).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, the loss of that money is really tough. But where was God? Were they not praying or not praying enough? So strange that the allegedly most earnest believers, those who urge prayer on others, seem no better protected by God than non believers. I think they need to set up an enquiry and hold either God or themselves to account. There are questions to be asked. Prayer just ain’t working.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This made me chuckle because of an hilarious song about a geezer called Blevins:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. I hadn’t heard the song about old Blevin. I think that sums up much that passes for religious communication.


      2. Seriously, therapy was very beneficial to me years ago, but this is how much of it works. It doesn’t matter what is said to you – if anything at all; it’s just having someone sympathetic to listen to you. And that’s how much religious “counselling” works. But I’ll never join the “if people find it helps them why knock it” brigade, because it’s based on a lie, and it CAN do a lot of harm, as it did to me (religion, I mean).


    2. Just what I was thinking. Prayer doesn’t work. Maybe they should try Satan; I’ve heard that he looks after his followers really well!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This maybe the way forward to destroy the fraud that is religion!


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