Byung Il “Peter” Bang pleaded guilty last November to federal charges of wire fraud, and fraud and false statements. He still faces sentencing on state charges of a theft scheme over $100,000 and misconduct in office.
Jay Speights, an interfaith pastor from Rockville, Md., could hardly believe it when a DNA test revealed his link to the royal family in Benin, a small nation that once housed West Africa’s biggest slave port. The discovery would soon lead to an internal reckoning.
He broke from the AME Zion Church in 1999 to form his own ministry. A charismatic former furniture salesman, he grew his congregation from 24 people worshiping in a Suitland, Md., storefront to a multimillion-dollar megachurch with more than 27,000 members worldwide.