• Memphis pastor charged with identity theft and fraud, case will be presented to grand jury

    By: Greg Coy


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A Memphis pastor was charged with identity theft and fraud. Now he can expect his case to be presented to the Shelby County Grand Jury.

    Pastor Frederick G. Smith said he's innocent of opening fake credit cards in the name of a former elderly church member.   

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    The family of Clevie Williams, 80, said Smith continued to use her information without her consent. This time it involves William's home address and Pastor Smith's car.  

    Drivers caught running a red light can expect to get a citation in the mail. Last month our cameras captured Pastor Frederick Smith driving in a 2013 BMW 5 series. 

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    According to a traffic citation FOX13 obtained, a Memphis red light camera caught Pastor Smith driving that same car through a red light at Winchester and Germantown Rd. 

    The car is not registered to his address but to the home of Clevie Williams.  

    She is the 80-year old former parishioner who accused Smith of stealing her information to open fraudulent credit cards and charging up to $50,000 dollars in 2015.  

    "How in the world does his car belong to my mom's address and my mom doesn't own a 2013 BMW?" asked James Bussell, William's son. 

    FOX13 showed the citation to Williams family and pointed out the date when the infraction happened.

    It was July 2018.  

    Clevie William's told Pastor Smith never contact her again after she left his church New Life Holiness in 2015.  

    In May 2015, Williams went to Memphis Police to accuse Smith, who was her pastor at the time, of stealing her information to open bogus credit cards.  

    Williams told Memphis detectives Pastor Smith used those credit cards to purchase over $50,000 in items.  

    "A blatant disregard for the request of an elderly individual," said Bushel. 

    FOX13 told Pastor Smith's attorney about the citation but he didn't want to comment.  

    Pastor Smith has said he and his wife are innocent of the charges of identity theft and fraud.

    FOX13 emailed the TN Department of revenue about the issue of Smith car being registered to William's address without her knowledge.  

    A spokesperson for the depart of revenue told FOX13, it has no reason to believe the plate on Smith's car and the address it was registered too is an error.  

    The Clevie Williams family wants an investigation. "Why is his vehicle registered to my mother's address?" said Bushel. 

    FOX13 was allowed inside the meeting with the Williams children and Shelby County Prosecutors.  

    We heard prosecutors tell the Williams family after reviewing all of the evidence collected and expecting more documents, the case will be presented to the grand jury to seek an indictment.

    Our cameras waited inside and outside a courtroom for Pastor Frederick to appear at his court hearing - but we did not see him. 

    Smith told FOX13 last month that he used to the credit cards for church expenses.  

    FOX13 reviewed one credit card statement. We found purchases for sneakers, private school tuition, hair weave products, and MLGW payments to homes and not the church property.    

    "This is no misunderstanding. This is just a game he keeps on playing," said Carolyn Bushel, William's daughter in law. 

    Pastor Frederick G. Smith and his wife will have their next court hearing November 14th.

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