A Chicago pastor couldn’t resist the urge to get his hands on funds set aside by the federal government to aid needy children, Clarence Smith Jr. of New Life Impact Church is in legal hot water after authorities discovered he embezzled more than $140k from the federal fund.
Pastor Smith allegedly used shady bookkeeping in order to receive more than the funds he actually needed to feed children, elderly and disabled people at his church.
The total amount Pastor Smith fraudulently took from the federal government was around $1 million dollars paid to Smith in the form of two checks.
Clarence Smith Jr. then removed the money from the Church account and began to live out his dreams of being a bigshot using money meant to feed those in need. For one transaction he spent $142k on an older model 2015 Bentley Flying Spur.
After his scam was discovered Clarence Smith Jr. continued to lie to investigators regarding the accuracy of the documents he submitted to secure the funds. When pressed to provide information to support his story Pastor Smith claimed he could no longer locate the needed paperwork as it had been damaged in a flood.
The signs were there although likely weren’t disclosed to the other members of his Church, pastor Clarence Smith Jr. is no stranger to the world of financial fraud. In 2001 he plead guilty to financial exploitation of the elderly after it was discovered he had been using the credit union account of a deceased individual to write checks to himself for close to $100k.
In 2012 after filing for bankruptcy, Pastor Smith informed the courts that he could not pay back the stolen money as ordered, he claimed to only have $20 in paper rendering it impossible to pay back the $80k in restitution.
Pastor Clarence Smith would not leave the media to tell his story for him, via Facebook he had this to say:
“To everyone who has [seen] this negative article about me in the press i say wait until you get all the facts.”
“It totally hurt me that after fighting back and forth with the state for 5 years that i have been charged with fraud from the food program. Of course the media would portray me as a criminal but didn’t mention the multiple daycares that i had running and several other businesses that I was apart of.
I’m not here to prove or explain myself to anyone. I’m going to fight this with everything I have in me. For those of you who know me and won’t rush to judgement please pray for me and for those of you who are looking to throw me under the bus pray for me also. Peace.”
Looks like there may be a long legal battle ahead for Pastor Clarence Smith Jr. hopefully the old Bentley he purchased with stollen funds runs smoothly or he may have to concoct another scheme to pay for the repairs on the luxury vehicle.