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Season 1

Evidence: Greater Ministries International

Gerald Payne

Gerald Payne is the founder of Greater Ministries International and mastermind of its "money-doubling" program. (Source: Tampa Tribune)

Greater Ministries International - Tampa, FL

Greater Ministries International's headquarters in Tampa, FL is an old bank building. Besides a chapel and offices, the "church" also has three vaults where it stores millions of dollars of cash. (Source: Tampa Tribune)

The Investors

Mary Cohea and Nancy Ross have been friends for more than three decades. Between the two of them, they invested nearly 200,000 and lost it after Greater Ministries' collapse. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

GMI Pamplet

As described in GMI's pamphlet for investors, Gerald Payne claims God awoke him one night and revealed to him the idea for his money-doubling program. (Source: Gerald Payne)

GMI Gifting Form

GMI leaders maintain that people in the money-doubling program did not invest money but that rather they "gifted" it without any promise of receiving any money as a return. Here is a typical form one would complete when giving money to Greater Ministries. (Source: Gerald Payne)

GMI Jewelry Catalog

As seen here in this catalog sheet, Greater Ministries also began selling jewelry emblazoned with its logo, which is a cross and recycling symbol with the phrase "Greater Trust in God." (Source: Alabama Securities Commission)

Grater Ministries International

Greater Ministries poured millions of dollars into failed gold mining efforts in Liberia. Here, Payne is seen purchasing heavy machinery to be used for digging. (Source: Tampa Tribune)

GMI Raid

On August 6, 1999, Federal Marshals shut down GMI's operations, storming GMI headquarters and taking over the building. (Source: Tampa Tribune)

GMI Evidence

Once inside GMI's headquarters, investigators find cash and weapons stashed throughout the building. (Source: Tom Krebs)

GMI Supporters

Although the government says GMI is a ponzi scheme, in which new investor money is used to pay returns to old investors, many people continued to support GMI by holding protests outside its headquarters while investigators were searching for evidence inside the building. (Source: Tampa Tribune)

GMI Certificates

Once the money starts to dry up, GMI begins sending some investors promissory notes instead of cash payments. (Source: AL Securities Commission)

IRS Special Agent Angelo Troncoso

Angelo Troncoso is the IRS Special Agent who heads up the federal government's criminal case against Greater Ministries International (GMI). He begins looking into the church organization in 1995 after noticing red flags among GMI's bank transactions. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Attorney Tom Krebs

In 1999, Attorney Tom Krebs leads a civil case in Alabama against Greater Ministries after a Birmingham investor suspects he has been defrauded. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Gerald Payne Convicted in 2001

In March 2001, a jury finds Payne guilty of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering and sentences him to 27 years in prison. In a phone interview from prison, Payne continues to tell American Greed that he is innocent and GMI did not run an investment program, but rather it was a "gifting program" with funds used to support Christian causes. (Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff)