By Black News
Chicago, IL — Bishop Clarence Smith Jr., who led New Life Impact Church in Chicago, has been accused of stealing about $1 million which was intended for a food program for children in need. He apparently used the money for his own luxurious expenses, including buying a new Bentley car.
The 45-year old pastor’s church was reportedly chosen as a sponsor to feed children in different locations in the community. New Life Impact Church was given more than $900,000 by the city and the state.
However, he did not carry out the responsibility to feed the hungry. When he received two lump-sum payments amounting to nearly $1 million in 2016, he initially made deposits to the church’s bank account. But he eventually withdrew it in cash at ATMs and wrote checks for his personal expenses.
After receiving the second check from the state, Smith also bought for himself a 2015 Bentley Flying Spur luxury sedan that costs around $142,000 using a cashier’s check.
When the Illinois State Board of Education, who administers the food program, probed him regarding the number of children fed, Smith claimed the records were damaged in a flood and cannot be retrieved anymore.
Smith had a long history of committing fraud to a number of food companies. He was also previously found guilty in a separate case of using forged signatures to steal $100,000 from an elderly man’s estate.
Now, he has been indicted on charges of four-fraud related counts. He was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty.
“I totally deny any and all allegations of fraud. I’ve served the community for years and will let this play out in court,” Smith told ABC 7 Chicago.