Episode 114: James Furry – Church of Love, Romance Scam

Retired agent James Furry served in the FBI for 31 years, eleven as a professional support employee and twenty years as a special agent. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, James Furry reviews his four-year-long Church of Love case.

Donald Lowry and Pamela St. Charles were charged with 26 counts of mail fraud for operating the Church of Love, a romance scam perpetrated against 31,000 lonely male victims who were defrauded of $4.5 million.

During his FBI support career, James Furry was assigned to a Special Support Group conducting surveillance on hostile Russian intelligence agents while serving in New Orleans and the Washington Field Office. During his agent career, most of his time was in the Newark Division working Organized Crime and supervising an Organized Crime Squad, a Crimes Against Children Squad and serving as the World Trade Center Command Post Supervisor.

He was also a hostage negotiator, police instructor and taught foreign police schools in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Ukraine.

After his retirement from the FBI, Furry worked as an anti-money laundering consultant.

He is the author of Fidelity, Bravery, & Integrity: My Story: The True Life and Career of a FBI Special Agent, a memoir about his FBI career that includes a chapter on the Church of Love. To learn more about him, you can visit his website jimfurry.com.

Supervisory Special Agent

James Furry

11/26/1973 – 4/1/2005









The following are links to newspaper articles about Donald Lowry’s conviction for operating the Church of Love:

New York Times – 12/6/1987:  Thousands of Men Bilked In Lonely Hearts Scheme

People Magazine – 1/30/1989:  Victims of the Church of Love Were Only the Lonely  

Sun Sentinel – 2/3/1989:  Agents Catch `Church Of Love` Fugitives February 3, 1989|

Jim Furry’s book tells his journey from clerical employee to organized crime coordinator.  It can be purchased here.













Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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