The Daily Mail reports…
“Born the daughter of a minister in Georgia, Janice Crouch grew up among all the trappings of the church and a life of holy devotion.
But before she passed away yesterday, days after suffering a massive stroke at her Florida home, the 78-year-old lived a life of enormous wealth funded by her Evangelical TV empire.
Alongside her husband Paul, Crouch preached to millions of viewers on a weekly basis, promising them wealth if only they would open up their own pockets and donate to her.
Using that money the couple bought adjoining mansions in Florida, jets worth almost $60million and a $100,000 mobile home just to house Janice’s dogs, according to a lawsuit filed in 2012.
In a lawsuit filed by granddaughter Brittany Koper after she was sacked from her position as the couple’s accountant, they were accused of receiving $300,000 to $500,000 in meal expenses, as well as the use of chauffeurs.
Koper’s lawsuit, reported by the New York Times, also claimed that staff members at the network, including sound engineers and chauffeurs, were ordained as ministers so their salaries could be tax exempt.
This also made it easier for the Couches to claim their 13 mansions as ‘parsonages’, also exempting them from a good deal of state and federal taxes.
Koper added: ‘My job as finance director was to find ways to label extravagant personal spending as ministry expenses.’
Janice, or ‘Momma Jan’ as she became known, also founded the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, a bizarre theme park that she took to overseeing personally.
Troy Clements, a former executive at the park, said that Janice’s belief that she was doing the Lord’s work led her to justify extravagant spending on personal whims.
Clements told the New York Times that he was once forced to remodel a cafe on site three times in six weeks.
When Janice was challenged on the behavior, she simply responded: ‘No one has told me “no” for 30 years, and you’re not going to start now.’
Clements also said that, when she began the remodeling project, she rented two rooms at the adjacent Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in order to be close to the project.
One room, he said, was for her – while the other housed her two Maltese dogs along with her clothes. The rooms were rented for two years, he added.
Son Matthew paid tribute to his mother today alongside wife Laurie, and their children Cayden and Cody, saying: ‘Laurie and I have just watched the transition of our precious Mother from this world to the next; watched her step into the presence of Jesus and into her heavenly reward.
‘Jan Crouch, known around the world as Momma Jan, has gone home.
‘Those who battled for the Kingdom of God knew her as a fighter – someone who didn’t give up, someone who fought relentlessly to get the Gospel around the world.
‘Viewers of the Trinity Broadcasting Network knew her as someone who partnered with Paul Crouch in the launch and expansion of TBN, and as someone who came into their homes for over 40 years.
‘To thousands of orphans around the world, and those orphaned in spirit, she was Momma Jan, quick with a smile, a gift, and a word of encouragement.
‘To a select few she was not a television figure, but was sister, wife, Mom, or Grandma — an integral part of a family.
‘Jan Crouch loved many things, but most of all she loved Jesus, and now has seen Him face to face and has experienced His grace in fullness.
‘She has taken a piece of our hearts with her, but it’s so wonderful to know that Paul and Jan Crouch are together again, in the arms of Jesus.’
Paul Crouch died in 2013 aged 79 after years of suffering from a degenerative heart disease.
Born Janice Bethany in Columbus, Georgia, she was the daughter of Edgar and Laurie Bethany, with her father serving as a preacher in the Assemblies of God denomination.
Growing up with a strong religious background, Jan met her future husband at a church event in Rapid City, South Dakota, where her father was preaching, according to CNN.
Paul Crouch later recalled the moment in a TBN newsletter, saying: ‘Heads turned (especially the boys) as a slight, beautiful angel seemed more to glide than walk toward the front of the auditorium.
‘Head down – timid it seemed to me – yet the bright red dress contrasted with the retiring, even shy, demeanor of this stunning young lady!’
Paul discovered that she was due to start classes at Evangel College in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, where he studied at nearby Central Bible Institute.
After Janice invited him to see her sing at a local event the pair began dating and married in 1957.
Paul had worked in broadcast ever since school, having helped create an educational AM station, before becoming a radio personality in Rapid City, South Dakota.
In 1973 the couple struck out on their own, buying southern California station KLXA-TV, now KTBN-TV 40, and turning it into a 24-hour, commercial free, Evangelist network.
Over the years the couple saw the business balloon, thanks in large part to donations sent in from followers, and it now has stations in Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and New York. “