Pastor Mark Lewis of Fellowship Baptist Church is back in jail for fraud and perjury charges.
On Jan. 9, Lewis was arrested for his involvement in a firebombing case. Police said while three of his co-conspirators stayed in jail, the Pastor got out on $500,000 bail on Jan. 11. Lewis allegedly used the church property as collateral for his bail.
Authorities had reason to believe his bond paperwork was illegal, and executed a search warrant on Friday afternoon.
“The search uncovered information that appeared to make it a fraudulent loan application, thus making it an illegal forgery, or theft by false pretenses, otherwise known as identity theft,” Lt. John Carli of the Vacaville Police Department said.
The Solano County District attorney’s office said Lewis used loan documents that did not belong to him. Instead, they were connected to Fellowship Baptist Church Inc. of Riverside, California. The bail bonds man used that fraudulent document to secure the $500,000 bail bond, making it null.
The investigation also revealed that the church had never filed for non-profit status.
Authorities also arrested Mark Lewis’ uncle, Danny Lewis, during the search. He was booked as an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Upon hearing the Pastor’s second arrest, church members who attended services Sunday expressed their sadness and support of the pastor.
“What’s going on is wrong,” Charles Young, who works with the church’s children, said. “Our Pastor is falsely accused, our pastor has been falsely put into jail. My view on this is, everything is getting twisted.”
“We’re standing behind him,” Alice Deweese, a member of the church, said. “We don’t know what’s really going on but we’re here for him.”
“It’s a set-up,” Matt Bongard, who gave Sunday’s sermon in place of Pastor Lewis, said. “They can prove it right, but they put him back in jail so they can revoke his bail.”
When FOX40 asked the members and church board for papers that could prove the pastor’s innocence, members replied that they have everything. However, when FOX40 asked for a copy of it, they said that it will come in time.
Now, Lewis has the $500,000 bail from the previous firebombing arson charges, plus $30,000 for fraud and perjury charges.
“It’s unfortunate for any church member or person attending the church that might get caught in the middle of this,” Lt. Carli said.