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Tag: Pastor Michael Bryant

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Michael Bryant Accused of Theft

pastor michael bryant

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Michael Bryant, pastor of Greater Sweetfield Missionary Baptist Church in Coconut Grove (Miami), Florida, stands accused of collecting the social security benefits of someone who died nearly 12 years ago. He faces numerous charges, including theft of government funds and making false statements to a federal agency. 

Channel 10 reports:

A pastor in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood is facing federal criminal charges after investigators said he collected on a dead person’s Social Security benefits for more than a decade.

Michael Gene Bryant, 57, is facing charges including theft of government funds and making false statements to a federal agency. He is the pastor of Greater Sweetfield Missionary Baptist Church, located at 3585 Plaza St.

According to a federal indictment, Bryant became the representative payee for a person identified in court documents as “H. L. G.” in 1996.

“H. L. G.” died on Oct. 17, 2012, but authorities said Bryant never informed Social Security and kept collecting payments until this January. Prosecutors said he lied on government documents and claimed the beneficiary still lived with him.

The documents don’t state how much money authorities are accusing Bryant of collecting.

No one came to the door when Local 10 News went to Bryant’s home to ask him about the charges.

A former parishioner said she’s “shocked” by the allegations and “in disbelief.”

“That is like unbelievable to me,” Charolette Smith, who lives right next to the church, said. “You go there to hear the word. Coming from a pastor, it’s like, what are you doing?”

He could face up to two decades behind bars.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser