IRS agents descended on the north Texas headquarters of television evangelist Benny Hinn and took boxes of evidence out of the offices.
The search began at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Hinn’s headquarters in Grapevine, near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
According to the Associated Press, anywhere from 40 to 50 federal agents entered the offices on Wednesday morning and as of Thursday morning, IRS officials and Postal Inspection police were reportedly still continuing to work.
“Today, we are here on official business, we are conducting a search warrant on the premises, basically that’s all I can tell you today,” Special Agent Michael Moseley with IRS Criminal Investigations told ABC affiliate WFAA.
Benny Hinn Ministries released a statement after the federal agents began their raid.
In a Facebook post, the ministry stated that they were co-operating fully with the IRS investigation.
“As has been widely reported, Benny Hinn Ministries is co-operating fully with the governmental entities that are reviewing certain operations of the Church,” the statement read. “The ministry has undergone intense scrutiny over the years, and we remain confident that there will again be a positive and speedy outcome in the days ahead.”
According to Hinn’s Facebook page, he was believed to be in Paris at the time of the raid.
Lisa Slimak, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas, told the Associated Press that she was unable to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.
The pastor is widely known for his energetic preaching style and regular use of “faith healing,” which often displays a dramatic spectacle where participants claim to be healed through touch.
He has a TV program called This Is Your Day, which according to the website is one of the world’s most-watched Christian programs.
Hinn is also considered to be a preacher of “prosperity gospel” theology, which is a belief system that teaches devotees they can achieve personal, physical and financial success through a combination of Christian faith and giving money to their church.
Hinn was one of six television evangelists investigated by the Senate Finance Committee in 2007. Three years later, the six people were cleared of any wrongdoing.
—With files from The Associated Press