Florida ‘Pastor’ Indicted for CARES Act-Related Wire Fraud
A former pastor of an Ocala, Florida, church known as Divine Destiny Global Ministries has been indicted on six counts of wire fraud related to COVID-19 relief funds.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Henry Troy Wade, 45, applied for and obtained loans in 2020 and 2021 for businesses he claimed to own but that were not in operation during the relevant time frame.
If convicted, Wade faces up to 20 years in prison.
The federal government is also seeking forfeiture for at least $524,400, which represents the proceeds of the conduct charged in the indictment.
The physical location of Divine Destiny Global Ministries in Ocala no longer exists, but is now a Mexican food restaurant, according to WCJB reports.
There is still a Facebook page for the ministry with a quote from Wade: “We are to build people of purpose, praise, and impact which will bring each person to their full maturity in Christ.”
“If you do the crime you pay the price, especially being a minister, we know the word of God. The word of God says to obey the law of the land,” another local minister Joseph Strachan told the news station.
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Wade was indicted in the Middle District of Florida as part of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the COVID Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief programs.
Under the CARES Act, Wade applied for an Economic Injury and Disaster Loan, a program designed to provide low-interest funding to small businesses.
The government claims Wade submitted applications that contained false representations and received loans based on those false claims. The funds were transferred into his bank account by wire transfers, thus introducing the wire fraud elements.
“The Department of Justice remains vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis,” the DOJ press statement read.