On December 11, a Clovis church’s former executive pastor was sentenced after pleading guilty to wire fraud in September of this year.
Sherman Smith, 74, committed a white-collared crime committing seven counts of wiring fraud totaling over $2 million from Sonrise Church located on Locan Avenue in Clovis.
Smith mishandled the church’s finances. The church and investors believed the money was going to an undisclosed real estate project.
In July 2016, Smith admitted to his wrongdoings. He racked up a total of $2,083,315.90 in wire fraud.
“Mr. Smith is a con-man and a thief,” said U.S. District Judge Dale A. Dozard.
This was Smith’s second federal offense. He previously served a 37-month sentence in prison for security fraud totaling over $5 million with over 38 victims.
“Smith abused his trusted role as executive pastor of a community church by diverting funds intended to help the church and congregation, to fund his personal and business expenses,” said Sean Ragan, Special Agent of the FBI Sacramento Field Office.
Smith has been sentenced to seven years and three months and ordered to pay $2,187,000 in restitution for scheming church congregants and those who invested in the real estate project.