ATHENS, Ga. — Is he a man of God or a crook?
Police allege a Georgia pastor has a long string of identity theft victims across multiple counties.
Pastor Reveckeyo “R. A.” Hill agreed to sit down on camera with Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray to talk about the allegations being lodged against him.
On top of being a pastor, Hill also runs an Athens car dealership -- H and P Auto Brokers, formerly located in Jackson County.
But a long list of alleged victims claim he’s also something else -- a career criminal.
“He’s a menace to society,” said Patricia Hill.
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“I wish nothing bad on him, but I just fear how people just hurt other people,” customer Stephanie Dowdy said.
There’s a lot that is confusing about the alleged financial schemes. What’s not confusing is that Hill was convicted of identity fraud, forgery, and theft by deception charges in Elbert County in late September.
He’s out pending his appeal.
But just weeks later, according to police incident reports, new criminal activity was already underway leading to a 10-count Athens-Clarke County criminal indictment with more charges of forgery theft by deception and identity theft.
“I’m fairly certain it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Athens-Clarke County Police Detective Nathaniel Franco, who has been leading the investigation against Hill for his department. “He will use people’s real identity, who bought a car with him in the past. He’ll use their identity to register vehicles in their name without their knowledge.”
People like Evette Strickland’s late husband who she told Gray that he owed $70,000 on a truck he never received.
“(If) Someone’s a pastor, you would think they were … they would lead you in the right direction and not take money from you,” Strickland said.
Attorney Michael Sterling said his client was also a victim who originally went into business with Hill to purchase a dump truck.
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“He ended up using her name, credit or Social Security number, forging her name on several documents, buying multiple other trucks, dump trucks, which she had no idea about,” Sterling said.
Stephanie Dowdy thought somebody stole her car.
“I woke up one morning and the car was gone,” Dowdy said.
It was actually repossessed.
She won a civil judgment against Hill.
“I was paying him the money, but he wasn’t paying the loan company,” Dowdy said.
Gray worked for weeks to get Hill to agree to an interview.
“We just want a fair investigation, be fair,” Hill said.
Hill’s attorney said they would not talk about that Athens criminal investigation and charges.
“I think you guys are used to dealing with people that run from you guys. I’m not intimidated by you guys,” Hill said.
But something else happened on the day Gray finally sat down with Hill, who was several hours late.
“Have you told someone you’re trying to purchase Park Chevrolet in Spartanburg, South Carolina? It’d be great if they went into business with you,” Gray asked.
“I’m confused on why you’re asking me about what business we’re trying to do,” Hill said.
“Because in the three hours since we’ve been waiting on you to show up here, there have been new charges filed against you in relation to that deal,” Gray told Hill.
Police had charged Hill with more crimes in another fraud scheme, alleging he forged documents and signatures about purchasing the car dealership.
Police say it was all fake and was allegedly an effort to get $200,000 upfront and more than $1 million total from another car dealer.
“He’s forging paperwork. He’s making stuff up,” Franco said.
Hill told Gray that he has proof that all his deals are legit -- paperwork and audio recordings.
But he and his attorney declined to provide show Gray with that proof.
“We’ve sold over 547 cars to different people in Georgia. You don’t have 500-some odd people calling the news channel saying, ‘Oh, I need my car, has two loans on it,” Hill said.
“Had they reached out, he would have opened up the books and let them see what was going on,” Lewis said.
But getting a direct answer from Hill to a direct question -- that can be tough.
“You didn’t forge any documents?” Gray asked Hill. “You won’t say yes or no. You didn’t forge any documents?”
“I’m not going to… we don’t know about…” Hill said.
“I can say I have never forged any documents,” Gray said.
“And I’m going to say I don’t even know what documents you’re talking about, so I wouldn’t be able to forge documents,” Hill said.
“Well, I mean, I can just say I’ve never forged a document, period,” Gray said.
“I don’t know any documents that will have me that are forged. OK?” Hill said.
Hill is appealing the charges he’s already been convicted of in Elbert County. That could mean several years behind bars.
As for the Athens charges, according to the incident reports, Hill had only been out on bond a matter of days for the first batch of 10 Athens charges when he was allegedly beginning to commit the crimes that lead to the new indictments filed last month.
Hill maintains he is innocent of all the charges.
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