The Reading Eagle says 47-year-old Michael Wilkerson Sr. denied any wrongdoing before he was sentenced Tuesday in federal court on bank fraud counts.
Authorities said Wilkerson victimized congregants as straw buyers, initially making mortgage payments but soon telling the buyers they had to pay the mortgages, which went into default.
The former New Millennium Life Restoration Fellowship pastor said "I never thought that I was committing a crime. I thought I was doing a good thing, then found out that I was not."
But U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg said he didn't believe that. He also ordered Wilkerson to pay $1.3 million in restitution.