MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis pastor has been indicted on felony theft and identity theft charges, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
Pastor Frederick Smith of New Life Holiness Church is accused of using the personal information of an elderly church member and running up thousands of dollars in charges on credit cards opened in her name.
A grand jury indicted Smith on two counts of theft of property over $10,000 and one count of identity theft. He is free on $15,000 bond.
Investigators say Smith went to the home of the church member and asked her to be on the church’s Mothers Board in May 2015. He then obtained her social security number, driver’s license and utility bill, telling her it was needed for her to become a member of the board.
The woman said she soon began receiving credit card statements in her name showing charges of between $10,000 and $60,000. She said she neither applied for the credit cards nor made any purchases with them.
The victim said that she confronted Smith about the credit cards, and he admitted to using her information to obtain the cards. She said he promised to pay the bills, but never did.
Smith’s wife, Jerri, came to the woman’s home and pleaded with her not to prosecute her husband.
Jerri Smith initially was charged in the case, but she wasn’t indicted due to insufficient evidence