Money laundering investigation leads to closure of Olivet University campuses in New York

The New York Commissioner of Education ordered that obscure Bible college Olivet University’s operations be shut down as the school is investigated by the Department of Homeland Security for fraud, labor trafficking, and money laundering.

According to Newsweek, New York shuttered the school stating that “the Evangelical Christian college was still largely run by a group of David Jang disciples linked to a 2018 criminal conspiracy” to “launder money for criminals in China and the United States.”

David Jang, a Korean American pastor, founded Olivet as a Christian university in 2000 and the school had two New York campuses, in Dover and Manhattan.

The Washington Examiner reports that Olivet has faced substantial legal troubles in the past few years. The school and related entities pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in 2018 in New York and “was forced to pay a fine of more than $1 million.”

NY Commissioner of Education William P. Murphy said Olivet had “had done far too little to clean up its act” and an education department review found that “Olivet has a well-established pattern of noncompliance with laws, rules, and regulations.”

Olivet’s 2018 leadership team remained in power even after the school pleaded guilty to the money laundering charges. Tracy Davis was president of the college in 2018 and moved into the job of Academic Dean afterwards.

Tracy Davis is married to Newsweek co-owner Jonathan Davis. Newsweek’s other co-owner Dev Pragad was also once part of the “Olivet sect.” Pragad said he wanted to “prevent Jang’s followers from interfering in the company and its newsroom.”

Johnathan Davis is the CEO of IBT Media, a company that pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to those against Olivet in 2018.

Newsweek was owned by IBT but spun off immediately before the 2018 indictments.

Olivet posted a statement on their website saying, “On June 30, 2022 Olivet University ended a good, 10-year run in the state of New York with the conclusion of our temporary permission to operate by the New York Board of Regents” and “We want to emphasize that, in everything, the heart of Olivet University continues to be for our precious students.”

The statement mentioned nothing of the specifics around the closure.

While New York closed those campuses the school operates several others, including in California, Tennessee, Illinois, and Georgia.

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