Tags: benjamin rogovy | pay-to-pray | websites

Benjamin Rogovy's Washington Pay-to-Pray Websites Shut Down

Image: Benjamin Rogovy's Washington Pay-to-Pray Websites Shut Down
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By    |   Friday, 18 Mar 2016 09:05 AM

Benjamin Rogovy's pay-to-pray websites of the Christian Prayer Center have been shut down and he has been ordered to pay back $7.75 million to about 165,000 people around the country, according to the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

Prosecutors charged that Rogovy used "systematic deception," which included creating fake religious leaders and false testimonials, to get people to pay to his for-profit Christian Prayer Center, according to a federal statement reported on by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Christian Prayer Center offered prayers from $9 to $35 on websites in English and Spanish, according to the Post-Intelligencer. and between 2011 and 2015 collected more than $7 million from 125,000 consumers nationwide.

"In a separate business, Rogovy used deceptive and unfair business practices to run the Consumer Complaint Agency, a for-profit business that promised consumers it would advocate on their behalf regarding their complaints against businesses," the attorney general statement added. "Instead, the company charged consumers up to $25 for doing little more than passively forwarding complaints."

Prosecutors said Rogovy broke Washington's Consumer Protection Act, and the Charitable Solicitations Act, while conducting his businesses.

KOMO-TV said some people complained that they signed up to request prayers and did not realize that they were agreeing to repeated credit card charges with no refunds. Washington pastor John Carlson told the television station that his name was linked to the site without his permission.

A third Rogovy website, the Christian National Church, which used stock photos and fake testimonials, and charged money for online ordination services, also has been shut down.

"I believe in the power of prayer," said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. "What I do not believe in and what I will not tolerate is unlawful businesses that prey upon people – taking advantage of their faith or their need for help – in order to make a quick buck."

The Post-Intelligencer said Rogovy's customers must file a complaint with the Washington state's attorney general's office by June 12.

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Benjamin Rogovy's pay-to-pray websites of the Christian Prayer Center have been shut down and he has been ordered to pay back $7.75 million to about 165,000 people around the country, according to the Washington State Attorney General's Office.
benjamin rogovy, pay-to-pray, websites
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2016-05-18
Friday, 18 Mar 2016 09:05 AM
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