Wednesday, December 8, 2021

BUSTED: Pastor Joel Osteen Questioned After Plumber Finds 'Bags and Bags' of Cash/Checks in Bathroom Wall After Reported $600K in Donations Stolen

Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has been questioned by police after 'bags and bags' of cash and checks were found in about 500 envelopes in a bathroom wall at Lakewood Church in Texas. A plumber who worked at the church and only gave his first name, Justin, called into a Houston radio morning 100.3 The Bull show to tell them about his shocking discovery, which comes seven years after about $600,000 in donations was stolen and hasn't been recovered.

Source: Daily Mail

Published: December 4, 2021

By: Mailonline Reporter

Justin was called in to America's largest church, Lakewood Church, on November 10 to fix a broken toilet, he said. 'There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile,' he explained during the call Thursday morning. 'We went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall, and I was like 'Oh wow!'' Pictured: Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, with his wife, Victoria, in Houston, Texas.  
He said hundreds of envelopes were filled with cash and checks inside the church. Houston police confirmed to that cash and checks were found in the wall, and that they talked to 'everybody associated with the building' they were able to contact. Pictured: Osteen's church where the plumber discovered the envelopes while working on a loose toilet.

In 2014, $600,000 worth of donations were stolen from the church. The amount was just a portion of donations made from one weekend of services, and it has never been found. 

Justin told the radio show that he informed the church's supervisors and was made to wait at the church for almost seven hours after his discovery.

'Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found. Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation. Lakewood has no further comment at this time,' a spokesperson for the church told PicturedL Osteen on October 1, 2018, in New York City.

Houston police would not comment on the case. In 2014, an employee had discovered the break-in on the Monday morning following Lent. In addition to cash, the burglars took Lakewood Church's checks and deposit slips that listed parishioners' credit card information. About $600,000 was stolen. Crime Stoppers offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest at the time, but no arrest were ever made. 

Donation funds are fully insured, so Lakewood Church did not lose out on the money at the time, but it has never been found.

Osteen, 58, the televangelist megachurch pastor, is estimated to be worth $50 million. He is often criticized for preaching that wealth is a sign of God's favor. The controversial celebrity pastor recently returned $4.4 million in federal COVID relief loans his megachurch received from the government.

At the time of the robbery, the Houston church has a weekly attendance of about 43,500 parishioners. Pictured: Osteen's mansion in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Lakewood now welcomes about 52,000 attendees across multiple services per week, and its services are streamed worldwide, as Osteen proselytizes about the word of God and spreads the prosperity gospel, which teaches that wealth is a sign of God's favor. 

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