Memphis pastor and wife arrested, accused of stealing $50K from 77-year-old church member

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis pastor and his wife are being accused of taking advantage of a 77-year-old woman in their church, racking up nearly $50,000 on her credit card.

The family called FOX13, claiming the pastor broke his promise to pay off the credit card debt.

Frederick Smith, 49, was arrested in connection with the alleged scam he and his wife committed against Clevie Williams.

Jerri Smith, Frederick's wife, was arrested Thursday morning at 10:54. A warrant for Jerri shows the same charges as Fredrick.

Williams told FOX13 she was only a member of the New Life Holiness Church for a few months.

And she said one decision, which she originally thought was an honor, ruined her credit and put her in significant debt.

Download the FOX13 Memphis app to receive alerts from breaking news in your neighborhood.

Trending stories:

Williams said Smith asked her to be on the “Mother Board” of the church, which she initially took as an honor.

Shortly after that exchange, Williams said Smith stole her identity and opened up credit cards in her name that he used.

Williams told FOX13 that the pastor failed on his promise to pay off the nearly $50,000 in charges he allegedly made without her consent.

“I was almost speechless. I could not think of anything to do,” Williams said. “I said what is this? I never in my life time had a card, or anything from Bank of America. Never.

“I have never been inside one of the banks.”

Her family gave FOX13 the last statement from Bank of America, dated April 2015.

The amount due was more than $19,000 – nearly $9,000 in charges made in about 10 days.

“I just could not function. I was hurt,” said Williams. “I was more or less angry, and I just didn’t know what else to do.”

Williams filed a police report in May 2015 and identified Smith as a suspect, but she later declined to press charges after Smith agreed to pay the Bank of America bills the next month.

However, Williams told FOX13 that he never did.

Smith denied the allegations to FOX13, saying the money he spent was for “church expenses” and was approved by Williams.

Smith told FOX13 he never stole Williams’ personal information to open any credit card. He said

Williams opened the card and gave it to him to use as church expenses.

Smith is being charged with identity theft, theft of property between $10,000 and $60,000, and forgery between $10,000 and $60,000.