Pastor, wife charged in $6M mortgage fraud

September 30, 2011 6:17:42 AM PDT
The pastor of a suburban Philadelphia church and his wife are charged with orchestrating a $6 million mortgage fraud scheme in which he allegedly victimized his own congregants as straw-buyers.

Federal prosecutors say 45-year-old Michael Wilkerson promised $15,000 to members of his New Life Millennium Life Restoration Fellowship if they'd pose as buyers.

According to the indictment released Thursday, the Pottstown man, his wife and two others manipulated mortgage documents submitted to banks.

Authorities say Wilkerson lived in one of the properties and rented four others out. He allegedly made mortgage payments initially but soon told the straw buyers they had to pay the mortgages, which went into default.

The Daily Local News of West Chester reports Wilkerson is jailed awaiting sentencing on a bad check charge.