A Memphis preacher and a Memphis woman both pleaded guilty to stealing money from the government Thursday in separate cases, according to Edward L. Stanton III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
Craig Wilson, 45, of Memphis, pleaded guilty to helping others steal about $168,000 from the federal government while he was the pastor of New Beginnings Church.
Wilson said he helped people file false income tax returns. The tax refund checks were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Wilson and some others involved in the scam.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigative Division and the United States Secret Service.
Wilson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervision upon his release. He will be sentenced in federal court on October 25.
Janet Wheeler, 48, of Cordova, told prosecutors in a guilty plea that she falsely claimed she was qualified for federal housing assistance.
From 2009 to 2011, she was a participant in the Housing Choice Voucher Program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that time, she made false claims to the local Memphis Housing Authority and received about $30,000 in undue government assistance.
Wheeler now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for December 5.