Have you ever wondered how one person can bring down an entire empire? You're about to find out.
Jim and Tammy Faye
Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were the most well-known televangelists in the world. Their multi-million dollar empire, PTL (Praise The Lord), was a mix of a Christian broadcasting network, a theme park, water park, and residential complex. Jim and Tammy Faye had their own variety show, which included puppets, that became the longest-running televangelism program ever.
From 1984-1987, PTL fell under scrutiny from The Charlotte Observer, a local newspaper, for their fraudulent fundraising. The Bakkers were selling $1000 "lifetime memberships" for an annual 3-night stay at a luxury hotel which wasn't built yet. Tens of thousands of people bought memberships, but only one 500-room hotel was built. Jim Bakker raised more than enough money to build the hotel, but instead kept $3.4 million in bonuses for himself.
It wasn't until another scandal emerged that details became public about this fraud.