MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis, Tennessee, pastor and his wife are being accused of taking advantage of a 77-year-old woman in their church, racking up nearly $20,000 on her credit card.
The family called WHBQ-TV, claiming the pastor broke his promise to pay off the credit card debt.
Frederick Smith, 49, was arrested in connection with the alleged scam he and his wife committed against Clevie Williams.
Williams said she was only a member of the New Life Holiness Church for a few months.
And she said one decision, which she originally thought was an honor, ruined her credit and put her in significant debt.
Williams said Smith asked her to be on the “Mother Board” of the church, which she initially took as an honor.
Shortly after that exchange, Williams said Smith stole her identity and opened up credit cards in her name that he used.
Williams said that the pastor failed on his promise to pay off the nearly $20,000 in charges he allegedly made without her consent.
“I was almost speechless. I could not think of anything to do,” Williams said. “I said what is this? I never in my life time had a card, or anything from Bank of America. Never.
“I have never been inside one of the banks.”
Her family gave WHBQ-TV the last statement from Bank of America, dated April 2015.
The amount due was more than $19,000 – nearly $9,000 in charges made in about 10 days.
“I just could not function. I was hurt,” said Williams. “I was more or less angry, and I just didn’t know what else to do.”
Williams filed a police report in May 2015 and identified Smith as a suspect, but she later declined to press charges after Smith agreed to pay the Bank of America bills the next month.
However, Williams said that he never did.
Smith denied the allegations, saying the money he spent was for “church expenses” and was approved by Williams.
Smith said he never stole Williams’ personal information to open any credit card. He said
Williams opened the card and gave it to him to use as church expenses.
Smith’s wife has not been arrested by police.
Police issued a warrant for her arrest on the same charges.
Cox Media Group