In late April, news broke that three Word of Faith ministers were charged with unemployment fraud for orchestrating a morally bankrupt scheme, justified by the group as “God’s Plan,” to salvage their failing businesses. At the time, three people had been charged in connection with the scandal – one of them, a friend and donor of Dan Forest: Jason Gross.
Gross, who contributed to Forest’s campaign in 2017, and his father, Dr. Jerry Gross, were sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of over $160,000 for “laying off” employees, triggering unemployment benefits and then allowing for those checks to replace their salaries while they continued to work.
Dan Forest has close ties to the group. In July 2017, Forest attended a fundraiser with Word of Faith leaders. Here, in a photo provided to the News & Observer, he is pictured with Robin Webster, a leader of Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale in Rutherford County:
READ MORE: Associated Press, “Member of secretive church pleads guilty in benefits scheme,” By Jonathan Drew, May 10, 2019.