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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Brazilian church leaders get U.S. jail time for cash smuggling

ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Curt Anderson - August 17, 2007 MIAMI - A husband and wife who lead one of Brazil's largest evangelical churches were sentenced to nearly five months in prison Friday after pleading guilty to smuggling more than $56,000 into the United States hidden in luggage, a child's backpack and a Bible case. Estevam Hernandes Filho and his wife, Sonia Haddad Moraes Hernandes, must serve an additional five months of house arrest in the U.S. and pay $60,000 in fines under a sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno. - - - The couple - known as Apostle Estevam and Bishop Sonia to their followers - lead Brazil's Reborn in Christ Church, which they founded in 1986 and which now claims hundreds of thousands of followers. Brazilian authorities are seeking the couple's extradition on charges of looting parishioners' donations for their own use. Moreno said he did not base his sentence on the possible Brazilian prosecution and accepted the couple's explanation that the $56,467 they illegally brought into the U.S. was not taken from church donations. That money will be forfeited to the U.S. government. "I'm not considering the alleged fraud in Brazil. I leave that up to the Brazilian authorities," Moreno said. The lengthy hearing took place in a courtroom packed with about 60 family members and supporters, many of whom wept loudly when Moreno delivered his sentence. Dozens of followers also wrote letters to Moreno asking for a lenient sentence. - - - Albert Krieger, one of the couple's lawyers, said they brought the money to the United States as part of a plan to gradually move their permanent residence from Brazil to Boca Raton out of fear they and their families might be targeted by kidnappers. He said the money was hidden in various belongings because the couple worried about thieves at airports. Assistant U.S. Attorney Armando Rosquete, however, said it was "bizarre" for the church leaders to hide money in a Bible case. "What I see in this case is an element of greed," he said. The couple pleaded guilty in June to failing to declare on a customs form that they were carrying more than $10,000 into the United States. They have been under house arrest at their Boca Raton home since Jan. 19. In a statement released shortly after learning of the sentence, the Reborn in Christ Church said: "In view of the court's final decision, we reaffirm our belief that "better days will come." "We shall continue praying for our Apostle and our Bishop, knowing that once they complete their sentence they will return to guide us. They know that until they return --- their flock will continue walking down the path they have pointed out," the statement said. Reborn in Christ spokesman Marcio Foffu said the Church had no further comment. FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.