Former Clovis Pastor Sentenced 7 Years for Fraud

Sherman Smith, 74, the former executive pastor of Sonrise Church in Clovis has been sentenced to seven years and three months for wiring fraud charges. (Tori Lavon/Clovis Roundup)

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.

Tori Lavon
Tori Lavon is a Multimedia Journalist from Reedley, California. She received her Bachelor's in Mass Communications and Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting from California State University, Fresno. Currently, she is a radio intern at One Putt Broadcasting. On occasion, Tori has the opportunity to be on-air with talent. She is getting her start in media. She has a passion for reporting, photography, and videography. Tori also has a love for art; she loves to draw, paint, and does pottery on the side. One day she hopes she can be on-air talent at a radio station as well.