Jim Bakker, an American televangelist, minister, and television personality, has amassed a net worth of half a million dollars. He is widely recognized for his Christian TV program, “The PTL Club”, which he presented alongside his then-wife, Tammy Faye Bakker. Jim Bakker Net Worth.
|Name||James Orsen Bakker|
|Birth Date / Age||Jan 2, 1940 (83 years old)|
|Source of Wealth||Televangelism|
|Relationship Status||Married To Lori Beth Graham|
|Net Worth||$500 Thousand|
Jim and Tammy Faye experienced a remarkable peak of success in their ministry, amassing a fortune of $1 million a week in viewer contributions. Funds were supposed to go towards expansion projects, yet the couple splurged on extravagant luxuries, such as private planes, expensive jewelry, and high-end cars.
An IRS report would later prove that between 1980 and 1983, $1.3 million of the ministry’s funds had been put aside for personal use; an equivalent of around $4 million in today’s currency. Subsequently, Jim Bakker was alleged to have stolen millions in the late 80s for his own enjoyment, as well as for paying off the woman he had allegedly raped, Jessica Hahn.
It was not until their fundraising began to come under suspicion that Bakker was charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of mail fraud, and one count of conspiracy. Upon his conviction, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison and was required to pay a fine of $500 thousand.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
In 1940, Jim Bakker was born to Raleigh and Furnia in Muskegon, Michigan. Later, as a young adult, he attended North Central University in Minneapolis where he met his future wife Tammy Faye LaValley. The two got married in 1961 and abandoned their college studies to become itinerant evangelists.
In 1966, Bakker and Tammy started working for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in Portsmouth, Virginia. Through their efforts, the struggling network witnessed remarkable progress with their kids’ show, “Come On Over”. This accomplishment resulted in Jim’s selection as the presenter of “The 700 Club”, a prime-time talk show.
Eventually, Bakker and his spouse partnered with Paul and Jan Crouch to launch Trinity Broadcasting Network in California. Unfortunately, their collaboration came to an end after 8 months due to disagreements between Bakker and Crouch.
The PTL Club
In 1976, after parting ways with Trinity Broadcasting Network, Bakker and his wife relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, to host a Christian talk show entitled “The PTL Club” on the PTL Satellite Network.
Over the next 10 years, Bakker established the PTL headquarters known as Heritage Village, while also continuing to expand his ministry through the development of the Heritage USA theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina, which ended up becoming one of the most successful parks in the US.
PTL Criminal Investigations and Charges
In 1979, Bakker and PTL were rocked when the FCC probed their mismanagement of funds gained through air-raised donations. By 1982, it was revealed that Bakker had acquired about $350,000, originally designated for overseas missions, and instead invested it in his own theme park.
Further examinations conducted by the FCC and the IRS unveiled PTL funds being used for the Bakkers’ own expenditures. Leveraging the opportunity, Bakker falsely alleged mistreatment to attract additional donations for his cause.
In 1987, a major scandal broke out after reports that Bakker and former PTL Club cohost John Wesley Fletcher had sexually assaulted and paid hush money to church secretary Jessica Hahn with PTL funds. As a result, Bakker stepped down from the ministry, appointing Jerry Falwell as his replacement.
Following a sixteen-month federal grand jury investigation, Bakker was charged with eight counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy, and fifteen counts of wire fraud. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison and had to pay a $500,000 fine.
While the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually upheld his conviction, they overturned his sentence and fine, ordering a new hearing in 1991. As a result, his sentence was reduced to eight years, although he only served a little under five years, being released on parole in 1994 and still owing $6 million to the IRS.
Return to Televangelism
In 2003, Jim Bakker made his return to televangelism, launching the program “The Jim Bakker Show” in Branson, Missouri. He has denounced the doctrine of prosperity that he formerly followed and has instead shifted to preaching the end of times and a survivalist mindset. Aside from his show, Bakker created Morningside Church in Blue Eye and restored the PTL ministry.
Statements and Conspiracies
As his career advanced, Bakker maintained a focus on wild conspiracy theories and extreme religious beliefs. Among the most egregious examples, he proclaimed Hurricane Harvey as a divine punishment and held Barack Obama accountable for Hurricane Matthew.
Additionally, he took credit for foreseeing the 9/11 attacks. More recently, he exploited the COVID crisis by selling colloidal silver supplements he claimed could cure the virus.
Career as Author
Bakker has written a number of works throughout his career, starting with “Move That Mountain” in 1976. This was followed by “Eight Keys to Success” four years later. After he was released from prison, Bakker published “I Was Wrong” and “Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse.”
His more recent titles include “The Refuge: The Joy of Christian Community in a Torn-Apart World” and “Time Has Come: How to Prepare Now for Epic Events Ahead.”
In 1992, after Jim Bakker’s sentencing, his marriage to Tammy Faye ended. Six years later, Bakker encountered former televangelist Lori Beth Graham, and married her after just 50 days. The couple went on to adopt five children in 2002.