MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - A Memphis pastor and his wife accused of stealing from a church member were out on bond Thursday night and streaming on Facebook live.
Pastor Frederick Smith and his wife Jerri have been charged with identity theft, theft of property, and forgery after a woman said the pastor used her personal information to open several credit cards and racked up $51,030 in debt.
Smith leads New Life Holiness Church of the Nazarene in Hickory Hill.
Police and court records showed the victim first went to police in 2015. That is when the victim said Smith asked her to be on the "Mother's Board" he was starting. He said he needed her social security card, driver’s license, and MLGW bill for her to be a member.
The victim said she started getting credit card statements and when she confronted Smith, he admitted to using her information to gain credit and promised to pay the bills. She told investigators she never permitted him to sign up for credit cards and that the pastor made up the Mother's Board.
At the time, Smith told police the credit cards were opened with the victim's permission and that he signed a deal with her to pay the debt.
According to an affidavit, the victim went to police this October with her credit report showing several accounts totaling $51,030 in credit card debt. It also showed the addresses were changed to Smith's Collierville home and Hickory Hill church.
The victim also told investigators when she first confronted Pastor Smith his wife pleaded with her to not press charges and confessed she was with the pastor when he tried to get a loan.
Local Memphis tried calling Smith and stopped by his two church locations and home for comment but received no answer.
Jerri Smith is due in court Friday morning. Pastor Smith has a court date November 9.