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Pastors of defunct church plead guilty to COVID-19, car loan fraud following HSI Houston, federal partner investigation

HOUSTON — Three pastors from Jesus Survives Ministries, a now-defunct Houston-region church, have pleaded responsible for their roles in a conspiracy to commit COVID-19 aid and car or truck bank loan fraud next an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations Houston, the Treasury Inspector Basic for Tax Administration, the Little Organization Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance policies Company Inspector Normal.

William “Bill” Dexter Lucas, 60, and Deborah Jean Lucas, 64, the two of Bryan, Texas, pleaded responsible Dec. 8. Brian Corpian, 45, of Houston, entered his plea Dec. 2.

All three men and women pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit financial institution and wire fraud. They also admitted to generating untrue statements and applying bogus files to fraudulently attain loans.

Jesus Survives Ministries held no church or pastoral companies for virtually a ten years preceding the circumstance. Nevertheless, Invoice and Deborah Lucas fraudulently attained autos soon after making wrong monetary statements about payroll at the church on bank loan purposes.

Bill Lucas utilized for multiple loans via the Financial Injuries Disaster Mortgage plan and Paycheck Security Application just times immediately after the Coronavirus Aid, Reduction and Economic Safety Act, generally identified as the CARES Act, passed. He falsely claimed that Jesus Survives Ministries experienced gross revenues of almost $1 million in 2019. Deborah Lucas and Brian Corpian signed some of the false paperwork and called lender workforce and the SBA to get application statuses.

When Invoice Lucas turned annoyed with bank employees’ failure to review and fund the loans rapidly, he sent them accusatory and daunting textual content messages and e-mail. He despatched a lender personnel a photograph of the employee’s individual loved ones, indicating he realized the employee’s wife’s and son’s names, as perfectly as posted a diatribe on the church’s website calling bank employees “minions of Satan.”

Just one of the banking companies approved a $50,000 paycheck security financial loan for the church, and soon after the Lucases obtained funding, they moved the funds into yet another bank account and went on holiday to South Carolina.

Sentencing for all a few defendants is scheduled for May 11, 2023. Each individual faces up to 30 yrs in jail and a high-quality of up to $1 million. The court permitted the defendants to keep on being on bond pending sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Lawyers Zahra Jivani Fenelon, Kate Suh and Kristine Rollinson are prosecuting the situation.

Homeland Safety Investigations launched Operation Stolen Guarantee in April 2020 to protect the homeland from the raising and evolving menace posed by COVID-19-connected fraud and felony exercise. Given that the operation’s inception, the directorate has capitalized upon its one of a kind and expansive federal prison investigative authorities its robust intelligence examination abilities and means its expansive domestic and intercontinental footprint and its strong regulation enforcement and private sector partnerships to lead the government’s investigative reaction to pandemic-relevant crime.

For more information and information and facts on HSI’s efforts to aggressively investigate COVID-19 fraud in Southeast Texas stick to us on Twitter @HSIHouston.