Menu Close

Tag: Tax Fraud

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Frank Jacobs Pleads Guilty to Filing a Fraudulent Tax Return and Wire Fraud

pastor frank jacobs

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.

Frank Jacobs, pastor of Rock Worship Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Quest Church, also in Charlotte, pleaded guilty last week to filing a fraudulent tax return and wire fraud.

The Charlotte Observer reports:

As a man of the cloth, Frank Jacobs was expected to render to God what was God’s. On Wednesday, however, it was Caesar’s turn, with the Charlotte pastor admitting in federal court that he failed to file income tax returns while also bilking a COVID-19 relief program out of a $52,000 loan with a phony application filed on behalf of one of his churches. Jacobs, 51, pleaded guilty to filing a fraudulent tax return and wire fraud in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer of Charlotte. Combined, the two charges carry a maximum penalty of more than 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine — though given his plea agreement, Jacobs’ penalty is expected to be much lighter. He will be sentenced at a later date.

….

In a statement released after Jacobs’ hearing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte said his criminal behavior occurred while he led two Charlotte churches. Plea documents say Jacobs led the Rock Worship Center Church from at least 2009 to 2018. The website of the southwest Charlotte congregation still lists him as pastor, crediting Jacobs with building the church from the ground up, and growing membership from the 11 who turned up for the first service to more than 1,500. In a 2009 story in the Observer, Jacobs — who at the time was doubling as a preacher and an executive with a pharmaceutical company — said his growing ministry had to balance its members’ spiritual and secular needs. ”The church should be a place that uplifts and encourages,” Jacobs said. “But it also should be a place that helps people find a job.” For much of his time at the Rock Worship pulpit, Jacobs apparently had trouble following the New Testament’s rendering advice.

The Christian Post adds:

Ever since he was a young boy, North Carolina Pastor Frank Jacobs Sr.’s mother noticed he had a taste for expensive things. She warned him that he would have to get a good education to afford them. So he studied hard and ultimately became a pastor, earning nearly $400,000 in one year. It apparently wasn’t enough.

Earlier this month, Dena J. King,  the U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced that Jacobs, 51, who led the Rock Worship Center Church in Charlotte from at least 2009 to 2018 and Quest Church in Charlotte from at least 2019 to 2021, pleaded guilty to tax and wire fraud.

Jacobs was accused of filing a false tax return and using fraudulent information to obtain a $52,000 loan from the federal government’s coronavirus relief program for small businesses, known as the Paycheck Protection Program.

On Sunday, during a Facebook Live broadcast from Quest Church, Jacobs said very little about his charges. But he told his congregation and supporters that the Bible remains his favorite book and apologized for embarrassing the church.

“It’s been a tough week, a very tough weeks for me and my family,” said the father of five, who is married to online talk show host Kimberly Jacobs.

“I first want to apologize to you … as church members and people who follow this ministry for being in a situation where you have to even see this, hear this, deal with this with your friends and colleagues. I’m very embarrassed by it, and I’m very sorry about it, and I apologize to you that you’re enduring this even as I endure it. I’m sorry to you because you had nothing to do with it.”

….

Documents cited by the U.S. Department of Justice show that for tax years 2009 through 2013 and 2015 through 2017, Jacobs failed to file timely U.S. individual income tax returns, Form 1040s, even after he received correspondence from the IRS in some of those years about the need to file and pay taxes.

He filed a return for 2014, claiming he only earned $66,370. But an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service suggests that he had $387,456.35 in income, according to a court document cited by The Charlotte Observer.

On April 22, 2020, Jacobs filed a fraudulent PPP loan application on behalf of Quest Church. He claimed the church paid five employees more than $135,500, but the church did not report any wages to the IRS for the corresponding calendar year and did not pay any withholding taxes.

Jacobs was released on bond following his court appearance last Tuesday and will be sentenced at a later date.

Filing a false tax return carries a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Jacobs’ church bio page states:

Frank Jacobs was born the sixth of 10 children to Supt. Lewis (deceased) and Mother Gladene Jacobs. Growing up in an industrial (steel) town on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA, he learned the value of hard work. As a result, he secured his first job before becoming a teen and contributed to the household income.

As a youth, Frank’s mother made a comment that would be a pivotal point in his life. He requested that his parents purchase a pair of Nike’s he desired and upon denying the request, his mother simply said, “Boy, you like expensive things and you’ll need to go to college to be able to afford them”!  Frank decided that very moment to find a path to college and to finance it – somehow!

During the course of his investigation, Frank discovered that he’d essentially get a full scholarship if he was accepted into a military academy.  With that in mind, he focused his attention on the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Frank found the process to be competitive and grueling, in addition to learning that he had to be nominated by Congress for admission.  He persevered through the process and was eventually nominated by his U.S. Congressman for the Air Force Academy.  Over the course of a year, Frank received full scholarships from various universities as a student-athlete.  He ultimately accepted an invitation from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA and graduated in 4 years with a Bachelor’s Degree.

With determination in his DNA, Frank decided as a senior (Biology/Pre-Pharmacy major) that he would work in the pharmaceutical industry.  Amazingly, he was hired almost immediately, by the foremost pharmaceutical company in the world.  Frank, being as competitive as he was, told his girlfriend Kimberly (whom he married) that he would achieve the rank of VP of Sales by his 40th birthday.  18 years after his prophetic comment and continued advancement, Frank Jacobs, at the age of 40, was promoted to VP of Sales for a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company!

Frank made every attempt to avoid the call to ministry, but had a heart-felt commitment to helping others. Even in corporate America, with all of his success, he remained highly involved in ministry and every aspect of that ministry flourished as a result of his involvement.  This was most evident when he and his wife Kimberly started a teenage 501c3 youth program within the church. The program grew from 11 youth to 300 in only a few years, drawing children from all walks of life (including the Amish community) and forcing them to move their weekly meetings from the church to a high school auditorium.  From an idea, to the U.S. Department of Education funding its programs, this 501c3 received millions of dollars in federal grants for almost a decade.

Frank later earned his Master’s Degree, completed multiple ministerial training programs, was licensed as a Minister and was eventually ordained as and Elder in The Church of God in Christ.  In a life-changing event, Frank suffered the loss of his father in 1999 and succeeded him as Pastor at the request of the Bishop.  In only a few years, the ministry grew exponentially and the Bishop then requested that Frank lead the State church (Pennsylvania). Upon accepting the new appointment in 2001, the State church grew 10 times its size in just 3 years. Multiple ministerial training programs,[sic] Frank and his family moved to Charlotte, NC upon being promoted by the pharmaceutical company for which he worked. He then assumed his toughest assignment as he was led by God to start a ministry from the ground.  With no history in Charlotte, no previous relationships, congregation, nor building, he was driven to start The Rock Worship Center COGIC.  In 2005, he secured a building and opened the doors with just 11 people.  To date, over 1500 people have joined The Rock Worship Center and Superintendent Jacobs is resolute that the ROCK has only just begun to be effective in Charlotte.Superintendent Frank Jacobs has been married to Talk Show Host, Kimberly Jacobs, for the past 20 years.  This union has blessed them with 5 wonderful children.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: So Many Crimes, So Little Time Issue

black collar crimes

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.

joseph hudson

Joseph Hudson Accused of Sexually Molesting Girl at Evangelical Church Daycare

Joseph Hudson, an employee of Hobart Assembly and Growing Hearts Childcare & Learning Center in Hobart, Indiana, stands accused of sexually molesting a four-year-old girl while working at the daycare.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Police received a report from a man who said his daughter returned home from day care and said she was stung by a bee on her calf, a probable cause affidavit states. Hudson brought the girl into a classroom, put her on his lap and inappropriately touched her, according to the affidavit.

Hudson “was employed as a cook for the day care and lately they had been short-staffed so (Hudson) helped with the children,” the affidavit states. Hudson “assisted in the youth programs,” and he had “passed all background checks and was cleared to work with the day care,” according to the affidavit.

On the day of the alleged incident, “both teachers had to leave the day care and (Hudson) was the only person available to watch the children,” the affidavit states. Hudson “was the only adult in the day care during lunch,” according to the affidavit.

The father reported the incident to the day care director, who said “she confronted (Husdon) about the allegations and that he denied touching the child,” the affidavit states.

The director notified the church pastor, who contacted Department of Child Services, and Hudson was put on leave while the investigation was completed, according to the affidavit. The pastor informed his supervisor and contacted Department of Child Services, the affidavit states.

The church’s pastors met with Hudson Sept. 27 about the reported incident and told Hudson “that he was no longer welcome at the church,” according to the affidavit.

Hudson told the pastors that he was filling in for another person Sept. 25 at the day care “and one of the children was ‘fussing’ so he calmed the child down so she wouldn’t wake the other children, the affidavit states.

Hudson “stayed very quite and it appeared that he wanted to say something,” the affidavit states, and one of the pastors asked Hudson, “What do you want to say that you are not saying?”

“(Hudson) put his head down and said in front of both pastors, ‘I did it,’” the affidavit states. Hudson cried and said “that he didn’t know why he did it,” according to the affidavit.

michael kell

“Pastor” Michael Kell Found Guilty of Tax Fraud

Michael Kell started First Meliorite Church so he could avoid taxes by funneling assets and income through the church. Kell failed to file several annual income tax returns, saying he was a minister under a “vow of poverty.” He was sentence to eighteen months in prison on Tuesday and ordered to pay pay $321,878.40 in restitution.

Patch.com reports:

 Dr. Michael Jon Kell, 68, was sentenced one year, six months in prison on Tuesday. He was also ordered to pay $321,878.40 in restitution to the IRS.

According to prosecutors, Kell developed numerous patented technologies and worked as a consultant, which generated millions of dollars in income over the years. To hide this income, he founded and was the “pastor” of the First Meliorite Church, which he claimed to be a branch of the Universal Life Church.

“Despite earning millions of dollars and living a lavish lifestyle, Dr. Kell failed to file tax returns for several years when he falsely asserted that he was a minister under a vow of poverty,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“Kell thought he could outsmart the IRS and avoid paying his fair share of taxes to the government by hiding his personal wealth behind the doors of a church he created and controlled in an effort to thwart the IRS while living a lavish lifestyle,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. “Taxpayer’s who go to these lengths to evade paying their taxes will be investigated to the fullest extent and referred for prosecution to the Department of Justice in hopes of bringing individuals into compliance with the IRS.”

Kell directed his income and assets into bank accounts belonging to the church. He used these accounts to cover all of his personal expenses, including overseas vacations, dining out, high-end clothing purchases, online dating services, and private school tuition for his children. Kell also transferred ownership of his multi-million dollar residence in Vinings several times over the years to various entities he created and controlled, in an effort to protect the property from creditors, including the IRS.

In 2001, Kell was found guilty of Medicaid fraud and tax evasion.

Kell’s bio page states:

Michael Jon Kell, MD PhD has dedicated his professional life to improving physical, mental and spiritual health. His research interests are vast, exploring fields as diverse as quantum physics, artificial kidneys, polymer chemistry, drug addiction, pain management, quantitative urine drug monitoring, longevity medicine, herbal medicine, prayer and spirituality. Dr. Kell teaches, “A wise researcher, firstly, considers the social consequences of succeeding, and secondly, listens to his or her conscience so to guide the final decision.”

Perhaps this is why he and his associates have spent untold hours converting their laboratory  discoveries into commercially viable products which help and do not hurt.  Michael holds 12 U.S. patents (with many associated foreign filings) and has authored ten books many poems and stories,  and over fifty scientific publications. He writes for both scientific and general audiences, presents seminars and workshops and has been interviewed on local and national radio and television.

Michael is the founding director of the Institute For Conscious Evolution and Human Development. The Institute is a modern mystery school sponsored by the original, Esoteric School arising in predynastic Egypt. This School provides pragmatic, dogma-free instruction to persons desiring objective knowledge as to the hows and whys of creation, proven methods for awakening personal awareness and establishing individual atemporal permanence, the nature of the spiritual work of the Saints and Masters and many practical skills. The school’s work efforts are designed for demonstrating how one can become a cosmically-significant individual capable of laboring for the betterment of all life and mind. Dr. Kell is a well-respected medical scientist, psychiatrist, inventor, engineer, poet, storyteller, and free-thinker

jody sambrick

United Methodist Pastor Jody Sambrick Arraigned on Child Porn Charges

Jody Sambrick, pastor of Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania, was recently arraigned on child pornography charges.

Fox-43 reports:

A 58-year-old Lancaster County man is facing several charges relating to child pornography after police  seized several computers and accessories last month during a search of his home in West Lampeter Township.

Jody Sambrick, of the 1700 block of Pioneer Road, was charged after members of the Lancaster County Digital Forensics Unit found several images and videos depicting child pornography during an examination of the seized items, according to West Lampeter Township Police.

Sambrick turned himself in on October 19 and was arraigned on three counts of child pornography, one count of dissemination of child pornography, and two counts of criminal use of a communication facility before Magisterial District Judge Joshua R. Keller. All the charges are felonies, police say.

Sambrick is a pastor at Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, according to the United Methodist Church’s official website  and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church website, which lists him as pastor at Hopeland and a West District clergy member.

dalton lanphier 

Trinity Life Baptist Church, Garland, Texas Sued For Negligence and Fraud

In 2016, Dalton Lanphier, youth pastor at Trinity Life Baptist Church in Garland, Texas  was sentenced to thirty years in prison on sexual assault charges. The mother of one of his victims has sued the church on behalf of her son, alleging negligence and fraud.

The Dallas News reports:

The mother of a boy who was molested by a former youth pastor of a Garland church is suing the church for negligence and fraud, saying it aided and abetted child abuse, according to court records.

Julia Davis, who now lives in Colorado, claims Trinity Life Baptist Church failed to report sexual abuse by Dalton Lanphier, 23, of Forney, or take any action against him.

….

Davis says in her lawsuit that Lanphier met her son when he was in middle school and abused him while allowing the boy to drive his vehicle.

“Through his position as youth minister, Lanphier came to know and gained access to minors and their families,” the lawsuit says. “Lanphier then used his position to sexually molest, abuse and assault minors.”

The lawsuit said the church “owed a duty to protect children from Lanphier, a sexual predator working as a youth minister.”

Trinity Life Baptist Church could not be reached for comment. An insurance company lawyer who is defending the church in the lawsuit also could not be reached.

The church opened its doors in 1992, according to its website.

Davis filed her lawsuit in Dallas County district court in August, seeking more than $1 million in damages. The church recently filed court papers seeking to move the suit to federal court.

In pukingly Baptist fashion, Lanphier has, through Mike Barber Ministries, seen the “light.” Here is an April 2018 video of Lanphier giving his testimony, one of deliverance and restored relationship with Jesus. As I said, puke, puke, puke, puke. Note that Lanphier never confesses what he actually did.

Video Link

Bruce Gerencser