Lakeland man scams $7 billion in Jesus' name

- An unemployed Polk County man admitted to making $7 billion in fraudulent online payments, but said he did it because Jesus Christ created wealth for him, according to court records. 

Investigators interviewed John Michael Haskew in December after a payment processing company noticed large payments being made to a bank account from a "large, nationally renowned financial institution." Those payments totaled around $7 billion, which were paid to the account over a two-day period. 

Detectives tracked Haskew using the IP address, which was linked to the account with the payment processing company, to his home in Lakeland.

Haskew told investigators he was "self-taught" in the banking industry and taught himself how to make the transactions. Detectives say he admitted to making transfers totaling around $3 billion.

Haskew said he had a very good reason for carrying out the scheme.

According to court documents Haskew said, "that Jesus Christ created wealth for everyone. Using this scheme, Haskew believed that he could obtain the wealth that Jesus Christ created for him and that belonged to him."

The logic was not good enough for state and federal attorneys, however.

Haskew pleaded guilty to making false or fraudulent statements to a department or agency of the United States, which carries a maximum of fiver years in prison and fine of $250,000.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Lakeland man scams $7 billion in Jesus' name
  • Schools and roads: Is there room for two tax hikes on the ballot?
  • Five months later, Tampa police name suspect in artist's death
  • Cortez service industry bands together to keep struggling workers afloat
  • Polk volunteers gear up for Florence relief mission
  • Temple Terrace club members want Confederate group to hold gatherings elsewhere
  • Sacred Heart's pipe organ fills church, hearts with music
  • Former special needs teacher accused of rape
  • 2 U.S. airmen, Vietnam vets forever connected by lifesaving kidney donation from one to the other
  • Ruby, a furry fire victim, will become the next Palm Harbor firefighter