Maryland Pastor Dr. Shine To Serve 27 Months for Hiding Millions in Bankruptcy Court
A Maryland minister known as Robert "Dr. Shine" Freeman was sentenced to more than two years (27 months) in prison Monday for obstructing bankruptcy court proceedings.
Robert "Dr. Shine" Freeman, 56, founded several ministries: Save the Seed Ministry, Save the Seed International Church and Seed Faith International Church. He was found trying to hide millions of dollars in assets when he filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in 2005.
“The evidence shows that Robert J. Freeman lived a life of fraud and deception, using millions of dollars from church members and fraudulently obtained credit to pay for luxury cars and a mansion while falsely representing in court that he was indigent,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office:
Shortly after February 2001, Freeman used funds from church members to accumulate substantial assets, including 11 luxury cars valued at over $1,073,000 and a $1.75 million residence in Indian Head, Maryland, which he concealed from the bankruptcy court when he sought a discharge of his debts from the court in 2005.
From 2002 to 2006, Freeman had the following purchased under church members' names:
- two Lincoln Town cars
- two Mercedes Benz cars
- two Volkswagon Phaetons
- a Bentley Arnage vehicle
- A $1.75 million residence on the Potomac River to be purchased in the names of church members
- 9,000 square feet, with a deep water pier
- a 20,000 pound covered boat lift
- a jet ski lift
- two four car garages
- five fireplaces
- a gym with steam room
Freeman also caused a Maybach vehicle to be leased in the name of a church member. By October 2005, Freeman and his then-spouse (Dee Dee Shine) owed over $1.3 million in debts, including:
- $846,000 in back rent
- more than $87,000 in lease payments on a jet airplane
- over $160,000 for payments on musical instruments
- and $220,000 in loan payments on a bus
- and much more in year 2006
Freeman did not fully disclose to bankruptcy court his real or personal property and the purchase of luxury vehicles purchased with church funds. 'Dr. Shine' also failed to report income from his ministry and, in a court proceeding, falsely said his ministry went out of business.
In addition to 27 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation, Judge Roger Titus ordered Freeman pay restitution of $631,050.52.
We can thank President Obama for the efforts in part by his Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.
Contact stopfraud.gov for any type of financial fraud.