East Texans Scammed By Fake Church - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/20/04-Longview

East Texans Scammed By Fake Church

Loucille Howell spent most of her life in church. However, in the last few months, her poor health kept her from going as often as she would like. That's when she started receiving letters like these from the "Saint Matthews Church Ministry."

"I thought it was a church organization and it sounded like it was a good deal," explained Loucille. "They tell you how much money you need to send in and give you a chance to tell them what you need. I told them how things were here."

The letters promised her riches if she sent them money. The organization even sent her CD's with supposed live recording from church services.

"We here at Saint Matthews Church are here to serve and not to be served," says the unnamed voice on the CD.

Since she couldn't tithe at her home church, she decided to send the money. In six months, she gave more than 1000 dollars. Then her daughter-in-law found out what she was doing. She was skeptical of the letters.

"It didn't have any contact name, phone number or street address," says Loretta Howell.

Loretta called Kay Robinson of the Better Business Bureau to check out the organization.

"We have 23 standards and he doesn't meet any of them," says Kay.

After an investigation by Better Business Bureau and KLTV we learned that St. Matthews Church Ministries doesn't exist, it's just a mass mailing marketing company based out of Beverly Hills.

"Well there is no church. It's supposed to be in Tulsa, and there is a Saint Matthews in Tulsa but it is not this church. The guy who runs this Saint Matthews is soliciting older citizens and lives in Beverly Hills. He drives a Rolls Royce, lives in a mansion, and there is no church," says Kay Robinson.

The man who runs it is named James Eugene Ewing. He built the direct-mail empire and mails out more than 1 million letters a month. He gets the names and addresses from various companies. Loucille is glad she now knows the truth now.

"I feel sorry for them for being that kind of people. It is not right to do that to others," she says.

Loucille and her daughter-in-law just hope no one else falls victim to this scam.

"They want to claim they are a church, well they won't be going to heaven that's for sure. They will be going somewhere else. Where they deserve to go," says Loretta.

The company has not made it's tax records public since 1999. That year the company grossed more than 26 million dollars.

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