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In 1974 Jim and Tammy Bakker launched their television show, the PTL Club, from a former furniture store in Charlotte, N.C. with half a dozen friends. By 1987 they stood at the center of a ministry empire that included their own satellite network, a 2300-acre theme park visited by six million people a year, and millions of adoring fans. The Bakkers led a life of conspicuous consumption perfectly aligned with the prosperity gospel they preached. They bought vacation homes, traveled first-class with an entourage and proclaimed that God wanted everyone to be healthy and wealthy. When it all fell apart, after revelations of a sex scandal and massive financial mismanagement, all of America watched more than two years of federal investigation and trial as Jim was eventually convicted on 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy.



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