Friday, 31 January 2020 14:41

Pastor Indicted in Theft from Elderly Member

Jan. 31, 2020 – A Memphis church pastor has been indicted on felony theft and identity theft charges for using the personal information of an elderly church member and running up thousands of dollars in charges on credit cards opened in her name, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
A grand jury indicted Pastor Frederick G. Smith, 51, of New Life Holiness Church on two counts of theft of property over $10,000 and one count of identity theft. He is free on $15,000 bond. The church is at 6385 Winchester Road in the Hickory Hill area.
According to an investigation, in March of 2015 Smith went to the home of the church member and asked her to be on the church’s Mothers Board. He then obtained from her personal information including 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 that he admitted using her information to obtain the cards and promised to pay the bills, but never did. She said she did not give him permission to use her personal information.
Smith’s wife, Jerri Lynnette Smith, came to her home and pleaded with her not to prosecute her husband. Jerri Smith initially was charged in the case, but she was not indicted because of insufficient evidence.
The case is being handled by Chief Prosecutor Byron Winsett of the District Attorney’s Public Corruption & Economic Crime Unit which is responsible for the prosecution of public wrongdoing, fraud and theft from governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses; and money laundering cases. Prosecutors and investigators work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of these offenses.