CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte pastor has pleaded guilty to obtaining a COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for his church using fraudulent information, the United States Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Frank Jacobs, Sr., 51, formerly of Charlotte and now residing in Concord, used "false and inaccurate" information when he filed an application for the federal pandemic relief money in April of 2020, the Department of Justice said Wednesday describing plea documents. Jacobs claimed Quest Church, a Charlotte church in which he was the pastor, paid wages totaling more than $135,000 to five employees from which federal income taxes were withheld, officials said. Investigators found Quest Church never reported any payment of any wages to the IRS for the corresponding calendar year and did not pay any withholding taxes on such income.
The Department of Justice said Jacobs was the pastor of Quest Church from at least 2019 to 2021. He was previously the pastor of Rock Worship Center Church in Charlotte from at least 2009 to 2018, officials said.
The same investigation reviewed documents showing Jacobs failed to file timely U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns (Form 1040) between 2009 and 2013, and again 2015 through 2017, the DOJ said. Jacobs did file taxes in 2014 but admitted in court Wednesday he both underreported his income on those returns and failed to make a payment to the IRS for any tax liabilities, officials said.
Jacobs pleaded guilty to tax and wire fraud, for filing a false tax return, and using fraudulent information to obtain a COVID-19 relief loan.
The charge of filing a false tax return carries a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a $250,00 fine. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penality of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If you think you are a victim of coronavirus relief fraud or have information pertaining to fraud involving COVID-19 relief funds, you can call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.