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N.C. Pastor Pleads Guilty to Tax and Wire Fraud in PPP Loan Case

The pastor of a North Carolina church pleaded guilty last week to tax and wire fraud and using false information to obtain a COVID-19 relief loan.

Frank Jacobs, Sr., 51, of Concord, North Carolina, was pastor of the Rock Worship Center Church in Charlotte from 2009 to 2018 and pastor of Quest Church in Charlotte from 2019 to 2021.

In April of 2020, Jacobs filed for a COVID-19 disaster relief loan under the U.S. Government’s Paycheck Protection Program, a program that was set up to help small businesses and nonprofits continue to operate during the pandemic.

The application, on behalf of Quest, claimed the church had paid wages totaling more than $135,000 to five employees the previous year and had withheld federal income tax from their paychecks.

In fact, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina found the church had never reported any wage payments to the IRS for that year or paid any withholding taxes.

Court documents also showed that Jacobs failed to file individual tax returns for most of the years between 2009 and 2017 and in a 2014 filing underreported his income.

The church’s website does not list current staff members but does have a section that includes recordings of some of Jacobs’ past sermons.

The charge of filing a false tax return carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Jacobs was released on bond following his court appearance. A sentencing date has not been set.

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Anne Stych

Freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and content manager. Science, technology, retail, etc. writer, ACBJ BizWomen.

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