Greater Ministries International Legal Cases Reach the U.S. Supreme Court
Posted: February 16, 2005
In January 2005, Greater Ministries made news when a case involving members David Whitfield and Haywood Hall reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Whitfield and Hall had been convicted of participating in a money laundering conspiracy that yielded more than $1 million in commissions - referred to as "gifts" - from Greater Ministries between 1996 and 1999. In an appeal, they argued that the jury had not been instructed that prosecutors had to prove that an overt act was committed as part of the conspiracy. The court ruled unanimously, however, that the federal money laundering conspiracy law did not require proof of an overt act by defendants.
Hall was more successful in court in 2004, getting his 15-year sentence reduced by three years. His original term was in part based on the allegation that in the pyramid scheme he abused a position of trust as a church leader, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that part of the sentence because Hall was not the personal pastor of the investors.