DENTON, Texas Secret Service agents showed up at the office of Great News Network in Dallas, Texas June 2 and demanded their entire stock of $1 million gospel tracts, which are produced by Ray Comfort's ministry, Living Waters. The tracts are used by Comfort and his co-host Kirk Cameron and have been promoted on their national television program, "The Way of the Master."
Since the seizure, demand for the tracts has escalated, with half a million of the tracts sold in one day.
Initial reports after the bust, indicated that the Secret Service may also pay a visit to Comfort's national offices in Bellflower, Calif. and confiscate their entire stock.
According to officials, someone in North Carolina took one of the $1 million tracts to a bank and tried to deposit it into their account, Christian Worldview Network reported.
Secret Service agents threatened the Denton employees with arrest for counterfeiting and seized 8,300 gospel tracts designed as "million-dollar bills."
Three Secret Service agents visited the Great News Network offices asking staffer Tim Crawford if he was responsible for printing "the million-dollar bills," according to a WorldNetDaily.com report.
The conservative Internet news service said Crawford suggested they talk to his boss, Darrel Rudus, the founder of the organization that trains evangelists from around the country in the techniques of witnessing their faith.
Rudus' organization, like others nationwide, distributes the tracts as part of its evangelism outreach. They are printed by Living Waters, which prints millions of them annually.
By telephone, Rudus offered his opinion that it was impossible to counterfeit something that wasn't reala $1 million bill, WND reported.
The agents explained that a woman in North Carolina had attempted to deposit one of the $1 million bills in her bank account. The address of the Great News Network was on the back, prompting the Secret Service visit, according to WorldNet Daily reported.
The news report said that before he got off the phone, Rudus was convinced the agents were going to drop their demand for the Great News Network's tracts.
But later, he said, the agents again demanded them from Crawford, threatening him with arrest for "concealing evidence." Rather than face arrest, Crawford turned over the approximately 8,300 million-dollar tracts the group had stored. The agents left a receipt and their business cards.
Comfort told WND he was stunned by the action of the Secret Service and expects agents to visit his California offices soon. He said he has no plans to abandon the use of the tracts, which are among the most popular of the many his organization distributes.
"I'm not going to stop printing them," Comfort said. "How can you possibly counterfeit something that is not reala $1 million bill?"
One side of the tract is designed like an imaginary $1 million bill. The other side has the gospel message written around the border. It also includes this slogan: "The million dollar question: Will you go to Heaven? Here's a quick test." The note goes on to explain the salvation message. It concludes with, "Please, repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will grant you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it."
The tracts are also clearly marked on the front: "This bill is not legal tender."
Rudus said he won't be deterred from distributing the tracts in the future.
"Show me the law we're breaking," he told WND. "How can you counterfeit bills that do not exist?"
Rudus said he suspects the unknown lady in North Carolina didn't actually try to deposit the tract into her bank account.
"People drop these tracts for others to see and read," he said. "That's the purpose of it. I have no way of knowing, but if I were going to guess, I would suggest this person just included the tract along with a deposit and someone got offended."
Brian Fahling, senior Trial attorney of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, is representing Comfort and has advised his client not to turn over any more tracts without a federal warrant.
"It is abundantly clear to anyone with a modicum of common sense that the 'bills' are not made with an intent to defraud, but rather, they are distributed with the intent to reveal the Truth (the Gospel message is written around the border on the back of the bill)," the attorney said. "No thinking person could believe the bills are real. If the Secret Service does not cease from this intrusion upon the free speech rights and free exercise rights of Ray Comfort and others, that agency will be explaining its outrageous conduct to a federal judge."
Fahling added that the action was ludicrous.
"By that type of reasoning, if someone should attempt to deposit Monopoly money in a bank, the Secret Service could seize all the monopoly money held by Americans. Surely the Secret Service has more important things to do," he said.
Despite the forfeiture, the publicity has driven sales to a frenzied pace, turning the entire episode into a blessing.
"So we are now going for the biggest print we have ever hadover a million and a half, and if the Secret Service do show up and seize them, we stand to lose millions," Comfort said.
A separate order of 100,000 limited edition Secret Service bills have also been ordered.
"But this is a Christian ministry and we render to 'seizures' the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. We will then leave it to the courts to decide what belongs to whom."
For more information, or to order the million dollar tract or any other of the many evangelistic resources, visit, livingwaters.com.