Memphis pastor, wife accused of stealing church member’s identity, charging $50k to credit cards

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis pastor and his wife are accused of stealing the identity of an elderly woman who attended his church and racking up more than $50,000 in credit card debt.

Frederick Smith of New Life Holiness Church will be in court Thursday. He's charged with identity theft, theft of property more than $10,000 and forgery.

It all began three years ago, when the victim says Smith asked her to be on a committee at the church, and told her he needed her Social Security number, drivers license and a utility bill.

A few months later, the woman started getting bills in the mail for credit cards she didn't open. She discovered three cards with a combined balance of $51,000, according to court records.

She confronted Smith, who said he'd pay her back, but that apparently never happened.

Smith's wife, Jerri Smith, has also been arrested and faces the same charges as her husband.

Frederick Smith was not on time for a 9 a.m. court appearance Thursday, but was on Facebook Live at noon for a prayer service.

WREG found out Smith has been in trouble before and was charged with misdemeanor, theft and traffic violations.

Frederick Smith leads a prayer on Facebook Live.