Extradition sought of church founders

Associated Press/January 11, 2007
By Stan Lehman

Sao Paulo, Brazil -- Brazilian prosecutors on Thursday sought the extradition of two church leaders arrested in the United States on money smuggling charges.

Estevam Hernandes Filho, 52, and Sonia Haddad Moraes Hernandes, 48, were arrested by U.S. customs agents after they arrived in Miami with $56,467 in U.S. currency, but claimed to only have $10,000, according to an affidavit.

The two were charged with failing to declare U.S. currency and bulk cash smuggling, federal charges that each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Hernandes Filho, a former Xerox marketing executive, and his wife founded the Reborn in Christ Church in 1986 and rode the wave of popularity of evangelical churches in Brazil, the world‘s largest Roman Catholic country.

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