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US Grand Jury Charges Two Brazilian Bishops with Smuggling and Lying

Brazilian bishops Estevam and Sonia Hernandes

Brazilian bishops Estevam and Sonia Hernandes A Miami grand jury has indicted Estevam Hernandes-Filho and Sonia Haddad Moraes Hernandes, a Brazilian couple who founded the evangelical Renascer em Cristo (Reborn in Christ) Church on charges of false statements and smuggling money into the United States, part of it inside a Bible.

The Hernandeses, who are bishops of the Church they created in 1986 – it has become one of the largest evangelical denominations in Brazil with more than 1200 temples and 2 million faithful – were arrested January 9, in the Miami airport, carrying US$ 56,500 in cash although they filled up their forms telling they had about US$ 21,000.
 
The couple is expected to be seen today by a federal judge for arraignment. Today's hearing has already been postponed twice from January 24 to January 29 and again to February 6. The first time, due to a request by the prosecution and the second one to accommodate the defense lawyer, Susan Van Dusen, who asked more time to prepare the case.

Hernandes Filho and his wife are named in four and five counts respectively, with each charge punishable with up to five years in jail. An agreement between the prosecution and defense fixed the bail amount in US$ 100,000.

While free on bond they are practically under home arrest since they had their Brazilian passports confiscated and are forbidden to leave the South of Florida. Both are being monitored by electronic surveillance devices placed in their ankles.

In case they are convicted in the US, husband and wife will have to serve time before being extradited to Brazil, where authorities have already filed the necessary papers with the US Justice to put their hands on them.

The church founders are on Brazil's most wanted list, charged with stealing millions of dollars from the church's coffers to buy personal real estate and other assets.

It's believed thought that even if convicted they will not spend more than 21 months in American jails. In case they can prove the money they were hiding is legal they might even escape jail.

Extradition, however, seems certain at this time and all indicates that they will also lose their green cards, a document that proves legal residency in the United States. They also risk as well being barred from the US as tourists, at least for a few years.

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  • Show Comments (6)

  • U.S. LAW

    home coming party
    Yes this is true ! Lulu plays deaf, blind, and dumb, regarding his nationals in the u.s.a. and europe…Therefore he is complicit in aidding ,abetting ,in the smuggling of illegal aliens!!!!!!!…The ongoing operation of returning illegal alien brazilian nationals to their home country intensifies as the majority of the u.s.a. insists on it…..the noose tightens….Lulu,s Luladasical shrug is about to be met by the return of his illegal nationals, being delivered right to his door…

  • bo

    [quote]In my view….
    written by ch.c., 2007-02-07 11:32:06

    USA and the EU should send back the 3 or 4 millions illegals Brazilians back in …
    Sea Containers !
    The problem is that Lula doesnt want them back. [/quote]

    You’re correct on the last part of your statement. A couple years ago the U.S. tried sending back numerous illegal brazilians that were detained and Lula didn’t want to help in any way, shape, or form.

  • ch.c.

    In my view….
    USA and the EU should send back the 3 or 4 millions illegals Brazilians back in …
    Sea Containers !
    The problem is that Lula doesnt want them back.

  • cold front

    Hey Brazil, how about taking back all of your nationals in the u.s.a. in criminal illegal alien status…

  • bo

    Smuggling, Lying, Brazilian, in the same sentence????

    Hard to believe.

  • satelite # 502 southern hemisphere

    More crime exports to the U.S.A….Its time the brazilian govern ment be held responsable …illegal alien trafficking from brazil seems to be epidemic…

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