They Put Their Faith in a God-Fearing Man Selling Them Tiny Homes. Now They’re Suing Him For Fraud – Christians: Please Learn the Red Flags, Research Cluster B Personality Disorders
Before I get to the links way below about a self-professing, devout Christian man who was allegedly swindling customers out of their very expensive purchases:
For any of you super trusting people out there – especially if you consider yourself kind, decent, empathetic and/or a Christian (though what I say below is also applicable to kind-hearted Non-Christians as well):
Please, please educate yourselves and accept reality.
There ARE people out there with what are called “Cluster B” personality disorders (such as NPD, malignant narcissism, or, they’re on the narcissism spectrum, or they are sociopathic or psychopathic) who cannot, or will not, have empathy (and on top of an empathy-deficit, sociopaths lack a conscience, too).
Not all of these Cluster B personality disordered persons are serial killers, as is often assumed(*) – but they all lack remorse and empathy and will use and abuse those in their paths, even their own spouses and family members! (*Some Cluster B personality disordered persons love to financially scam other people or financially exploit them, for instance.)
The primary drivers and motivations of Cluster B persons are control and dominance of other people.
These people can be your neighbor, sibling, parent, spouse, a friend, your boss, or a co-worker.
These dangerous persons can work as church pastors, doctors, school teachers, veterinarians, psychologists, therapists, plumbers, IT professionals, UPS delivery persons, mailmen, hair stylists – any and every occupation, even “care based,” charity based, or church ministry related ones!
These people have learned to “pass” as normal. They will pretend to be normal. Many will act as though they have compassion and empathy for others, but they do not.
Just because someone is working in a care-based occupation doesn’t mean they have empathy and are warm, nurturing, and have your best interest at heart.
Some narcissistic or sociopathic persons who work as therapists or as social workers INTENTIONALLY undermine their patients or others in their care. That’s one reason you must be careful when shopping around for a mental health professional, should you want to see one for treatment.
Some of these personality disordered persons will do things like say they are a “Jesus-follower,” a Christian, they will even volunteer for charity work, attend church regularly, and “play act the part” of loving, devoted Christ follower while simultaneously committing financial fraud (or other sins and crimes) against you or others.
And they do NOT CARE AT ALL how much it hurts your feelings or hurts you financially.
They are not sorry, and they never will be. They do not experience remorse or sorrow for how they hurt others.
Even the non-personality disordered abusive persons out there have very large entitlement attitudes, so their view on relationships is that being mean, lying, nasty, and controlling of or to you is getting THEIR needs met for them, their abusive behavior of you is working well for them, so why bother to care about you and your needs and how YOU are being hurt by them in the process?
They feel they have no reason to change for the better (this is from their perspective).
There is nothing you can do to fix, change, save, or help such persons (even most therapists agree such persons are beyond help or fixing), nor is it your responsibility to fix or change them.
Avoid them as much as possible. No amount of compassion, love, attention, pity, or empathy from you or someone else will change or fix such persons.
No amount of church attendance, Bible reading, or exposure to the Gospel or the teachings of Jesus will heal, change, or fix them.
This includes the marriage context: a wife being “more submissive” or “loving” towards a narcissistic or sociopathic husband will not “heal,” change, or fix the husband and cause him to stop hurting his wife.
Please do some research, and stop allowing people to take advantage of you! Look for the red flags.
Perhaps start out by reading books such as “The Sociopath Next Door” by Stout
(though, caution: in an otherwise very good and educational work, I think she sugar coats her descriptions of narcissism in her book too much – narcissists, especially at the moderate to high end of the spectrum, are essentially watered-down sociopaths, so far as I am concerned,
but, in her book, Stout makes narcissists sound more lovable, redeemable, reachable, and friendly than they actually are,
which contrasts what I’ve read in a lot of research by other mental health professionals and accounts by narcissistic abuse survivors who all specialize in the topic of narcissism),
or “Husband, Liar, Sociopath – How He Lied, Why I Fell for It & the Painful Lessons Learned” by O. N. Ward,
or “Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself” by Shahida Arabi.
There are many other books – and free online articles and videos – that describe all these issues.
Just because someone claims to be a Christian and acts really sweet, caring, and nice does NOT mean they will NOT abuse you financially, or will not abuse you physically, verbally, or sexually in private.
Because such people do exist, and they will abuse or exploit you.
Stop thinking the best of people, stop being so trusting, stop assuming that because someone talks favorably of Jesus that this must mean they are trust-worthy, and stop giving people third, fourth, and more chances if they’ve already hurt or lied to you twice!
Stop rationalizing their behavior, stop excusing it on the basis they told you they are having a bad day, they’re under stress, or they were abused as a child (whether they were or not still does not excuse their abusive or dishonest behavior).
Such attitudes and behaviors on your part, where you keep forgiving, pitying, trusting, and grant repeated chances and do-overs, is what enables alleged frauds like the guy in the article below to scam you in the first place.
I am not victim blaming anyone who has been abused or targeted by any of these abusers or scammers.
Here is where I am coming from:
I just want to pull my hair out in frustration in particular at how Christians, in their sermons, books, social media, blogs, and their attitudes, frequently encourage or pressure behaviors or attitudes in believers that encourage them to be very susceptible to attracting abusive people or con artists, or from eliminating them from their lives once they encounter them.
Christians are setting other Christians up to be attractive and easy targets and prey for sociopaths, narcissists, and other troubled and dangerous people.
Misguided Christian teachings about grace, forgiveness, compassion, helping one’s neighbor, turning the cheek, the “no divorce for any reason” teachings, and giving second chances, and Christian complementarians especially are really bad about this.
Christian gender complementarians promote “gender complementarianism,” where they strongly condition girls and women to adopt beliefs and actions that are indistinguishable from Codependency (ie, which includes things like lacking boundaries, being passive, etc), which makes girls and women reluctant to engage in perfectly healthy and normal actions, such as standing up to abusers or bullying behavior, and leaves them vulnerable from recognizing abusive behavior as being abusive in the first place.
Secular culture of course also re-enforces such harmful beliefs and behaviors in girls and women as well, via traditional gender stereotypes (see the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker for some examples; research by others has also been done in this area going back years with the same results being shown).
People around the country who have paid Matt Sowash thousands of dollars for the small dwellings after seeing him on TikTok say he never delivered on his promises.
by Sept 20, 2022
By Deon J. Hampton
DENVER — A man who had been convicted of bilking investors out of thousands of dollars and who professed his love for God while selling tiny homes online swindled homebuyers out of their life savings for dwellings that were never delivered, three alleged victims said in lawsuits filed in federal and state courts.
Developer Matt Sowash, founder of the Colorado-based nonprofit Holy Ground Tiny Homes, promoted the small residences on social media, including to his 80,000 TikTok followers, with short videos portraying an upbeat, God-fearing man selling the American Dream — affordable homes with financing and no credit checks.
“For people that can’t pay for a house all at once, we can finance you. Holy Ground Tiny Homes. Get yours today,” Sowash said in one TikTok video.
“Great house, available now, around $45,000 is what this goes for. Come in and take it away,” he said in another video, wearing a T-shirt adorned with “Faith Over Fear.”
Sowash said in an interview that he never set out to take advantage of homebuyers, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to build the 250 homes already paid for, in full or in part.
…A plaintiff in one of three lawsuits filed against Sowash said in an interview that the builder’s persuasiveness and Jesus-loving persona convinced her to part with her hard-earned cash.
“That’s part of what sold me. He’s charming, convincing and I believe in God,” said Clara Virginia Davis, 24, an elementary schoolteacher in upstate New York.
Davis wired $42,000 to Sowash in January for an 8-by-28-foot modular home with an open floor plan, front porch and wood-burning stove. It was supposed to be delivered by Aug. 1, in time for the first day of school, but it never arrived.
“I gave him my life savings,” Davis said.
Davis filed a lawsuit against Holy Ground in August in U.S. District Court in Colorado, seeking a refund and other damages.
… Sowash has faced plenty of legal problems in the past. He was sentenced in 2009 to five years in prison for bilking more than $470,000 from investors who gambled on an amateur poker league he had founded and for stealing $140,000 from three other investors who thought he was looking for investment opportunities for them.
…Sowash, who is currently on parole, said he “found God” while serving his prison sentence 13 years ago.
“I was saved in a prison cell back in 2009 and from that point on, God gave me a vision to love and serve the community,” he said. “I thought building tiny homes would be a great way to provide finances for that.”
…For Theresa Meggitt of Lakewood, Colorado, who paid $14,000 for a tiny home in February 2021 that she never received, Showash’s explanation doesn’t cut it.
“Nobody will do anything, and I’m frustrated,” said Meggitt, 54. “They still haven’t started on my home, and I don’t think they have intentions to.”
Meggitt said she hasn’t filed a lawsuit because she’s still holding out hope her home will be built.
Alexandra Maes, 28, of Greeley, Colorado, said she was touched by Sowash’s professed love of God and talk of using some of the proceeds to build a sober living center for people in recovery. She used her and her partner’s life savings of $25,000 to buy their dream home, she said.
[Her ordered home showed up late and had many flaws, she says.] … Sowash refused to make repairs, she said.
…Maes said she can’t afford to file a lawsuit or repair the house.
“I don’t have the money,” said Maes, a mental health counselor. “It’s been a nightmare from the beginning. He ropes you in on religion. He proclaims to be a Christian man helping people with recovery.”
In a TikTok video posted July 27, Matt Sowash wears a “My Life Was a Fiasco Without Jesus” T-shirt, stands beside a half-built tiny home and makes his sales pitch.
…But customers of Holy Ground Tiny Homes say it does not have a tiny home for you. It doesn’t even have a tiny home for them. And they’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars.
The Englewood nonprofit and its owner Sowash — a convicted fraudster who was once the intended target of a bungled murder plot involving rattlesnakes — have taken their money, lied repeatedly about when their homes will be built, and refused to issue refunds, according to seven customers who spoke to BusinessDen and three others suing Holy Ground.
“He took my money knowing, ‘I’m not going to give this woman a house anytime soon, if ever.’ There’s no doubt about that now,” said Lori Birckhead, a Tennessee woman who took out a loan and wired $46,500 to Holy Ground in April for a home she was promised would arrive in July. She has since been told it will be delivered in 27 to 30 months.
Another customer’s lawsuit estimates “hundreds of consumers throughout Colorado and the United States have wired their life savings” to Holy Ground for tiny homes they didn’t receive. Some have waited 18 months for a house they were promised would arrive in three months.
As word has trickled out — the Better Business Bureau now gives Holy Ground an F rating — and customers across the country have organized online, Sowash has tried to quiet criticisms by warning that complaints and bad reviews will make matters even worse for clients.
— end excerpts —
To Wrap Things Up
If you tend to think the best of people,
want to give people 3rd, 4th, or more chances, have a difficult time with boundaries,
you tend to feel sorry for people easily and want to rescue them or help them,
if you’ve been taught or believe that Christian views on grace and forgiveness means overlooking, justifying, or excusing repeated sin or bad behavior,
if you’ve been taught that your needs and feelings don’t matter and that you primarily exist to help others meet their needs – and you’re a Christian
– please, again, I implore you to start educating yourself on topics from reputable sources (not from “biblical Christian counselors”) such as…
- Narcissistic Abuse,
- BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder,
- NPD (Narcissist Personality Disorder) – as well as Covert / Vulnerable Narcissism,
- Malignant Narcissism,
- Anti Social Personality Disorders, which includes Psychopathy and Sociopathy,
- and abuse dynamics,
and how such people operate, the tricks or types of conditioning they usually employ, to fool you into destructive relationships, or into staying in an unhealthy relationship, or into giving them your money.
You’re not going to get this much-needed information or education that can help you protect yourself from 99.9% of most Christians, most churches, and most Christian magazines, blogs, podcasts, or preachers.
It’s up to you to do this research yourself, because you won’t normally hear any of this from most churches, preachers, Christian books (or Christian blogs, social media, etc).
You’ll actually continue to get told by most Christians, even pastors, to keep investing in behaviors and perspectives that will make you attractive or easy prey to abusive, exploitative, or manipulative people.
Most churches and most Christians won’t point you to truly helpful resources.
Sorry, but “the Bible alone” won’t cut the mustard here, as most Christians have been taught to interpret the Bible through a distorted filter, which again, leaves them vulnerable to not recognizing abuse or abusers, or leaves them vulnerable to putting up with abuse or manipulation, once they are in some kind of abusive relationship (whether it’s a marriage, a work place, a friendship, etc) – and not realizing it’s okay to walk away from abusive behavior, to walk away from an abusive person (which includes divorce), or to call it out.
Their Christian teachings, biblical interpretations, and assumptions will keep you trapped in behaviors and views that are detrimental to your mental health and physical or financial safety.
It’s your responsibility to do the research on these topics so you can protect yourself, your sanity, and your resources, so that you can protect your bank account, and to protect those you love,
because you are not going to be given this information in Christian magazines, books, social media, blogs, or in churches – and sadly, most Christians and preachers will actually discourage you from seeking out such information.
Many churches and pastors will keep pointing you back to the “Bible alone” (or possibly to pastoral or church elder input) for advice or solutions to these subjects, which includes, or is based upon, their harmful and faulty biblical interpretations and assumptions, which will keep you stuck in abusive or manipulative relationships or will leave you more apt to fall into them from the get-go.
(Link): Pastor charged in wife’s murder was headed to Europe to marry boyfriend, prosecutor says – Single Xtian Ladies: Kick that Be Equally Yoked Teaching to the Curb! Also: Marriage and Parenthood do not make people more godly or mature or loving or ethical
(Link): Marriage is Not A Cure For Pedophilia, Making a Joke of Marriage: Christian Preacher Marries A Known Pedophile To Young Woman, Pedophile Then Apparently Molests His Own Biological Infant Son By That Woman
(Link): When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship