LA-based Kabbalah Centre under IRS investigation
- Photo: Amos Gumulira/GettyImages.com1 of 9
- Photo: Mukwazhi/Invision/AP2 of 9
- Photo: Jason Webber/Splash News3 of 9
- Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com4 of 9
- Photo: Warner Bros.5 of 9
- Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP6 of 9
- Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna Digital7 of 9
- Photo: Optic Photos/PacificCoastNews.com8 of 9
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Los Angeles-based spiritual organization whose followers include Madonna and other celebrities is the focus of a federal tax evasion probe.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service is investigating whether nonprofit funds from the Kabbalah Centre's $260 million in assets were used as a piggy bank by the family that runs it.
For more than 40 years, the Berg family has controlled the spiritual group that preaches a little-known strain of Jewish mysticism.
The Bergs and the Kabbalah Centre are named in subpoenas as a subject of a grand jury probe alongside Madonna's Raising Malawi charity. The charities have said they are cooperating with the New York-based investigation.
A call to the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles was not immediately returned Thursday night.
Madonna abandoned plans to build a girls' school in Malawi earlier this year because of logistical problems. Her charity Raising Malawi has also been cooperating in the investigation.
The federal investigation follows several lawsuits about the Kabbalah Centre's finances. One ongoing case alleges the center wrongly cashed in on $2.9 million in a $68-million Ponzi scheme.
In another suit an heiress accused the Bergs and other Kabbalah Centre associates of bilking her out of $1.3 million.
A former member alleges she was pushed to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in an Orange County branch and a homeschooling program that never came to fruition. The Kabbalah Centre has called the suits meritless.
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »
Sofia Vergara poses in a revealing neon bikini while her "Modern Family" castmates hit the beach in Australia on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »