Arrested pastor skips court appearance, preaches on Facebook Live instead

A Memphis pastor who is being accused of stealing nearly $50,000 from a 77-year-old woman failed to show up for his court appearance Thursday.

>> Original Story: Pastor, wife accused of stealing from 77-year-old woman in credit card scheme

Instead, Frederick Smith went live on Facebook and preached at the same time he was set to be in court.

Smith posted on his personal Facebook page around noon Thursday, saying it was time for the “12 noon prayer” at the church.

And he wasn’t done.

Smith said on Facebook at 2 p.m. that he will be going live again on Facebook later to make an announcement.

“Join me live tonight 6pm!” Smith said in the post. “I have something I must do.”

Smith again denied the allegations against him and his wife when asked by WHBQ-TV Thursday.

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WHBQ-TV obtained a Capital One credit card statement showing a check written to Williams. The check was written from an account in the name of Jerri Smith's, Frederick Smith's wife.

It also listed the pastor’s address. However, Smith declined to comment over the phone regarding the statement.

Background info: 

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

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

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

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

Williams said Frederick 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 Frederick Smith stole her identity and opened up credit cards in her name that he used.

Williams said that the pastor failed in 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 lifetime had a card, or anything from Bank of America. Never.

I have never been inside one of the banks.”

Her family gave WHBQ-TV 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 Frederick Smith as a suspect, but she later declined to press charges after he agreed to pay the Bank of America bills the next month.

However, Williams said that he never did.

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

He said he never stole Williams' personal information to open any credit card. He said

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

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

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