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SANTA ANA, California – A federal grand jury has charged three top administrators of a Philippines-based church with overseeing a labor trafficking scheme that forced church members to solicit donations for a bogus charity after the defendants illegally obtained visas and other immigration documents that allowed the workers to enter and remain in the United States.

The one-count indictment returned by the grand jury late Wednesday alleges a conspiracy to commit a series of offenses, including trafficking with respect to forced labor, document servitude, immigration fraud and marriage fraud.

The three defendants were arrested last month after being named in a criminal complaint that alleged a conspiracy to commit immigration fraud. Today’s indictment expands the scope of the alleged scheme and includes new details about the immigration fraud portion of the scheme.

The core allegations of the case are that representatives of the church – the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC) – obtained visas for church members to enter the U.S. by claiming, for example, they would be performing at musical events. But once the church members arrived in the United States, they were required to surrender their passports and work long hours as “FTWs” (full-time workers), who solicited donations for a church non-profit called the Children’s Joy Foundation USA (CJF). While the workers raised funds by telling donors their money would benefit impoverished children in the Philippines, the indictment alleges that most or all of the money raised was used to finance KOJC operations and the lavish lifestyles of church leaders.

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U.S. Department of State

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