Some members of a North Carolina church were in an Upstate court Monday, charged with illegal solicitation.
A former church member is making allegations that are far more troubling than just where they were asking for money.
“I couldn’t go out there and lie anymore like that,” Jeanine Williams told us.
Monday she had to appear in a Greenville County Courtroom on her second charge of soliciting money for the Charlotte NC based church, Miracle House of Hope Ministries.
She says the money they are required to collect doesn’t go to the cause people think but the Pastor.
Pastor Bruce Little, his wife Sandra Little and a van full of church members were there to defend the church Monday.
“For us to keep our doors open, to bring in the addicted, to bring in the ones that are lost, to bring in the ones that society has kicked to the curb, we have to do what we call a fundraiser,” he said.
Greenville County Deputies told 7 News some church members had been here before and they had warned them, it’s illegal to solicit on the streets unless you have a permit. But they did it again.
The pastor had a lot to say, but would answer few questions.
In the video you can see the extremely heated response he had to our questions about asking for money without a permit. After the yelling, he spoke off camera, explaining he had no control over where the members went to solicit funds for the church.
Williams told us each member has to raise a “quota” of $125 a day, 6 days a week.
That would be a goal of raising $39,000 per year. Williams claims she knew at least 18 other members who were tasked with raising the same amount. That is a potential of over seven hundred thousand dollars, all of which is handed to the Pastor at the end of the day.
The Pastor and his Wife, denied the members are required to raise that amount. They say every cent raised goes back to the church and helping the less fortunate.
We asked if they report all they do raise to the IRS, and Sandra Little said yes.
William’s goal is to not get arrested again but she claims the church told her not to worry about law enforcement.
“They tell us we’re invisible to the police officers, don’t be afraid,” she said.
Williams told me that she feels let down by the church, and states she is no longer a member.
She plead guilty to the solicitation without a permit charge Monday. The other members did not enter pleas and will be back in court in the coming months.
The Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte says in the last year they’ve had 937 inquiries about Miracle House of Hope Ministries. And the BBB said they’ve asked the church at least 6 times for documentation about financial information and how much money goes directly to the cause. The BBB says Miracle House of Hope Ministries did not provided the information the BBB requested.