A megachurch in Ohio is being sued for swindling a 76-year-old mentally ill woman with dementia out of at least $340,000.
Bridget Pollard, 76, has lived by herself since her husband died in 2015. The childless woman lived in hoarding conditions and blocked relatives' efforts to help her, Pollard's niece Bridget Johnson says.
Her niece says that Pollard emptied out her late husband's state pension, and it wasn't long before she wrote a $340,000 check, payable to Grace Cathedral. The megachurch in Akron, Ohio, televises the ministry of Rev. Ernest Angley.
Dawn Lawkowski-Keller of the Public Guardian's Office, who is representing Pollard, said the church essentially stalked her:
"The literature talks about how you'll go to heaven if you give this money."
A singer at the church, Corliss Whitney, kept in touch with Pollard and became her power of attorney.
"I'm very sad for my aunt, that she spent all these years she thought she had a good friend, and a church she believed in, and this was all done in the name of God," Johnson, the niece, says.
The public guardian's office has frozen some of the church's assets as it tries to get Pollard's money back.