Pastor accused of mail fraud

WOOD reports…

“A Grand Rapids pastor who was involved in a 2010 car loan scam now faces federal charges for allegedly tricking a bank into giving him a $150,000 loan.

You can still find video of Pastor Timothy Woodson preaching online, but his Well of Rehobeth Church and Life Develoment Center appear to have gone away.

So might Woodson. He faces up to 20 years in prison. A federal grand jury in Milwaukee indicted him on mail fraud charges last week. The indictment alleges he used U.S. mail to run a scam on a couple of banks.

The latest con began in 2007 with a $1,550,000 loan from Ridgestone Bank in Wisonsin that used Woodson’s old church on Grand Rapids’ southwest side as collateral. Of that loan, $246,000 went to pay off an existing mortgage on the building at 535 Church Place SW and $800,000 went to buy a new building — the old Huff School at 2286 Ball Avenue NE, according to the indictment.

In 2008, Woodson tried to get another loan from Chemical Bank in Midland, according to the indictment. But Chemical Band said it would deny his request unless Ridgestone Bank signed off on the church building lien. Ridgestone refused because the church still owed money and was missing payments.

So, according to federal prosecutors, Woodson created a phony document showing Ridgestone had signed off and filed it with the Kent County Clerk. The Clerk’s Office records documents and sends them back to the bank.

To keep the fake document from being sent to the real Ridgestone Bank, Woodson allegedly posed as a bank employee and opened a mail box in the Ridgestone bank’s name at a UPS store in a mall in Brookfield, Wisconsin near the bank’s headquarters. The Kent County Clerk’s Office sent the copy to the phony address and Woodson got the new $150,000 loan from Chemical Bank.

“It’s good that he finally got caught doing something bad,” said Patricia Knight, who nearly lost her small Kentwood condo because of Woodson.

She knew nothing of the alleged bank fraud, but remembers what happened when she co-signed for a car loan for Woodson, who was her pastor at the time.  Target 8 investigators reported in 2010 that the lender was coming after her for the $15,000 loan because Woodson stopped paying.

That forced Knight, who lives on Social Security and has health problems, into bankruptcy. The lender put a lien on her condo.

At the time, she wondered how Woodson could buy a new church building but fail to pay off the car loan she was stuck with.

Target 8 investigators also found at the time that Woodson was the target of debt collection suits and had pleaded guilty to failing to pay City of Grand Rapids income tax.

Woodson is still reportedly living in Grand Rapids, but no one answered the door at what is believed to be his house on Everglade SE in Grand Rapids Monday.

On top of a maximum 20 years in prison, Woodson may have to pay a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Woodson is expected to appear in federal court in Milwaukee later this month.”




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