The New Life Impact church
According to a report by New York Post, a pastor in Chicago, USA has been accused of stealing nearly $1 million from a food program for needy children — using some of the cash to buy himself a flashy new Bentley.
Rev. Clarence Smith Jr., who led New Life Impact Church, was indicted on fraud charges for bilking more than $900,000 given to the ministry for a federally funded food program through the Illinois State Board of Education.
Prosecutors allege that 45-year-old pastor didn’t follow through with feeding the hungry — and instead deposited the checks into his own bank account.
Smith then used the money to buy himself a brand new, $142,000 Bentley Flying Spur luxury sedan and on other expenses, the Chicago Tribune reported.
He was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to the four fraud-related counts in federal court, according to the newspaper.
North Lawndale resident Ravin Cosey said the pastor’s various luxury goods raised alarm bells prior to the feds’ investigation.
“He was coming around in Jordans and Bentleys and new cars, and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, pastors don’t do that,'” Cosey told news station WLS-TV.
Smith responded to the allegations of fraud Friday in a statement.
“I totally deny any and all allegations of fraud. I’ve served the community for years and will let this play out in court,” Smith told WLS-TV.