A Tacoma seminary program associated with a chain of churches raided by the FBI earlier this year has lost approval to receive federal Veterans Affairs education funds. Former members have described the chain as a cult that defrauds soldiers.
In late June, the FBI served search warrants at several House of Prayer Christian Church locations near military bases, mostly in the Southeast. A former church minister told The News Tribune the Tacoma location on South 54th Street was constructed in 2004 and targeted soldiers at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
A JBLM spokesperson told The News Tribune this summer the base was aware of the House of Prayer and referred questions to federal law enforcement. The FBI’s Seattle field office confirmed “court-authorized law enforcement activity” at the church but declined to provide additional details.
A spokesperson for the House of Prayer declined to comment on the investigation.
Current and former members have accused the House of Prayer of draining veterans’ GI Bill funds by perpetually enrolling them in bogus seminary classes and pressuring them to gain 100% VA disability then donate their benefits, according to an August 2020 report sent to the VA by the legal assistance nonprofit Veterans Education Success. In the report, members also accused the church of using their personal information and forging signatures to apply for VA home loans without their knowledge.