‘Biblical economist’ jailed for ‘end of the world’ cash scam

‘Biblical economist’ jailed for ‘end of the world’ cash scam

‘Fine Christian man’ Larry Bates, 73, former House of Representative for Tennessee and ex-Chairman of the Bank and Commerce Committee who went on to become publisher and editor of the Monetary and Economic Review this week took on a new role: that of a jailbird.

According to this report, Bates told listeners of Christian broadcast programmes that they should buy gold and silver coins to give them financial protection during a supposedly looming religious and economic collapse termed “Mystery Babylon”.

Trusting Bates’ status as a former Tennessee lawmaker and believing he was an honest Christian man, hundreds of people sent him money, and waited for their coins to arrive.

Watch Bates here speaking about a “Socialist World Order” plotting to impoverish middle-class Americans:

Few ever received their coins, and on Tuesday he was sentenced to more than 21 years in federal prison for leading a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that prosecutors said defrauded more than 400 people from 2002 through 2013.

Bates, his two sons and his daughter-in-law were convicted in Memphis federal court in May of wire and mail fraud. His relatives await sentencing.

US District Judge Sheryl Lipman ordered Bates, 73, to repay more than $21 million to victims. A large number of those victims were elderly Americans who lost life savings and the ability to pay for health care, prosecutors said.

The Bates family worked through First American Monetary Consultants, which had offices in Memphis and Boulder, Colorado. But they found customers from all over the country.

Bates, a Democrat who served in the Tennessee House from 1971 to 1976, promoted the company though Christian television and radio programmes, including the Jim Bakker Show. He used the airwaves to question the stability of the world economy as it faced what he described as a religious and social collapse.

Jailbirds of a feather: Larry Bates pictured being interviewed on the Jim Bakker Show. In 1988, televangelist Bakker – following a 16-month Federal grand jury probe – was indicted on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. He was found guilty on all counts and served almost five years in prison.

Gold and silver can protect people from fluctuating and volatile money markets because they always will be exchangeable, even in “End Times”, he said.

Customers gave $87 million to the company for the purpose of buying precious metals. But the Bates family kept money from the payments for their personal use, spending it on commodities trading and a 10,000-square-foot house (930-square-meter) in Middleton, Tennessee. By 2009, the company had more than $26 million dollars in unfilled orders.

Victims begged the company for their coins or reimbursement. They were told that the coins were scarce, the coins were coming from Europe, and the US Mint had been shut down.

Judith Ponder, from Kerrville, Texas, testified at trial that she and her mother gave Larry Bates more than $1.8 million dollars.

Charles Grimsley, a pastor in Mesa, Colorado, said he and his wife gave the company more than $200,000 of their retirement money.

They got little, if anything, in return.

Lipman said there were customers who did receive the coins for which they paid, but noted “that is how Ponzi schemes work.”

Bates’ wife and friends spoke on his behalf during the sentencing hearing. Friend Tim Foster said Bates was very principled and called him:

A fine Christian man.

Bates said in court that he was:

Very sad for these clients of ours.

He accused business competitors, and private and government lawyers, of conspiring against him.

God is my defender. He knows the truth. He will expose the lies.

Bates’ lawyers argued he should be sentenced to six to nine years, saying that his age and declining health would make him vulnerable in prison. Dr Robert Burns, a specialist in geriatric medicine, testified Bates suffers from short-term memory loss and early dementia, and lawyer Mary Catherine Robinson said that a long jail term would be:

A death sentence for him.

The judge disagreed. Bates altered the course of people’s lives, causing them to suffer significantly, she said.

Lipman did not criticise Bates for his religious and world views. But she did say this:

Your use of religion to gain trust is appalling.

By the way, Bates is the author of a book called New Economic Disorder. Here’s one glowing five-star review on Amazon:

17 responses to “‘Biblical economist’ jailed for ‘end of the world’ cash scam”

  1. Barry Duke says:

    OT: Home and back in the saddle a little later than anticipated. I got back with a hang-over from hell. Here’s why:

  2. 1859 says:

    Congrats and thanks for the pickies Barry – your partner’s huge! One day soon I hope that all marriages between consenting adults become what they should have been in the first place – a public declaration and celebration of love and commitment between two people. I wish you both all happiness with not too many hang-overs – cheers!

  3. Laura Roberts says:

    “Judith Ponder, from Kerrville, Texas, testified at trial that she and her mother gave Larry Bates more than $1.8 million dollars.”

    Beggars the mind how someone that naive can accumulate $1.8 million.

    An elderly relative of mine (since deceased) once bought about $10,000 in gold coins “just in case”. She did receive them, but kept them hidden in some clothes, forgot where they were, and lost them when she donated items to a charity . Fortunately it was only a small fraction of her life savings.

  4. Laura Roberts says:

    @BarryDuke: great pics! Looks to have been a lovely day.

  5. Broga says:

    Great pics, Barry. Any chance for them appearing in “The Daily Mail”? They are well up to the spreads they do for the royals and far more interesting.

    A month ago we celebrated (with children, grandchildren and three dogs) our 50th wedding anniversary,

    It is unlikely that the good Christian man of principle, Larry Bates, will be celebrating anything for a while. His behaviour is what we have come to expect from these good Christians.

  6. barriejohn says:

    Broga: The Mail is much more concerned with an unemployed couple in Kensington, living in social housing and expecting their third child (benefits now cut), who have to find £6000 per term to pay for their little boy’s school fees. I was reduced to tears by this story. A supplement (prippy lickle kiddy-winks) was rushed out on Monday in an attempt to persuade a gullible readership to continue keeping them in the manner to which they have become accustomed (similar to those two jerks in the photo – and I don’t mean Barry and his partner!).

  7. Broga says:

    barriejohn: Yup! The scam continues complete with a fortune being spent on “guarding” the sprog. Great work for the security guys. How do they pass the time?

  8. andym says:

    “Your use of religion to gain trust is appalling.”

    Maybe , but hardly unique is it? Rather like how ISIS targets violent inmates because the proposed violence won’t shock them as much, Christians are prime con targets because they’re clearly already gullible. And their declared belief in the Bible’s teachings shows they do not check the small print .

    Broga. I thought you’d like this from Private Eye;

    “World Exclusive. Not in Every Paper.
    Former helicopter pilot living on state handouts gets unemployed wife pregnant for the third time.”

    Another article reports Prince William as “even sulkier than his father.” I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.

  9. Angela_K says:

    Great photograph Barry, and very funny caption. My best wishes to Marcus and you.

    Another tragedy about this Christian fraud [aren’t they all?]is the gullible fools who actually believed him.

  10. Broga says:

    andym: Brilliant. And so accurate.

  11. sailor1031 says:


    Inadvertently this Amazon reviewer has given his fellow christians excellent advice. Too bad they don’t take it; they could have saved themselves a lot of money had they investigated their religion and this Tennessee scammer.

  12. sailor1031 says:

    Best wishes Barry and many more bottles of CAVA!

  13. cnocspeireag says:

    The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.
    The god soaked criminal who perpetrated a totally heartless fraud served as a Democrat. Wouldn’t be allowed today.

  14. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    You make a lovely couple Barry, I hope you two have many happy years ahead of you.

  15. L.Long says:

    Once again xtian demo the real gawd they worship….money!

  16. John the Drunkard says:


    Secret decoder? Invisible ink? Amazing how much the Bible has to say about trans-bathrooms, concealed hand gun carrying, taxes on the rich etc. etc.

  17. Barry Duke says:

    Hurry, hurry, hurry! Jim Bakker is flogging buckets of apocalypse food now. Get yours while stocks last! Just $175.00 a tub.