Ever since he was a young boy, North Carolina Pastor Frank Jacobs Sr.’s mother noticed he had a taste for expensive things. She warned him that he would have to get a good education to afford them. So he studied hard and ultimately became a pastor, earning nearly $400,000 in one year. It apparently wasn’t enough.
Earlier this month, Dena J. King, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced that Jacobs, 51, who led the Rock Worship Center Church in Charlotte from at least 2009 to 2018 and Quest Church in Charlotte from at least 2019 to 2021, pleaded guilty to tax and wire fraud.
Jacobs was accused of filing a false tax return and using fraudulent information to obtain a $52,000 loan from the federal government’s coronavirus relief program for small businesses, known as the Paycheck Protection Program.
On Sunday, during a Facebook Live broadcast from Quest Church, Jacobs said very little about his charges. But he told his congregation and supporters that the Bible remains his favorite book and apologized for embarrassing the church.
“It’s been a tough week, a very tough weeks for me and my family,” said the father of five, who is married to online talk show host Kimberly Jacobs.
“I first want to apologize to you … as church members and people who follow this ministry for being in a situation where you have to even see this, hear this, deal with this with your friends and colleagues. I’m very embarrassed by it, and I’m very sorry about it, and I apologize to you that you’re enduring this even as I endure it. I’m sorry to you because you had nothing to do with it.”
Jacobs, who did not immediately respond to calls for further comment from The Christian Post on Monday and appears to have stepped back from his current ministry, said he decided to speak out publicly because he has long been an advocate of personal responsibility.
“Most of you know that my favorite book is the Bible, my second favorite book is The Oz Principle of Accountability. And when you do something that you shouldn’t do, you ought to take the accountability and responsibility for it. I ask you to forgive me,” he said.
“I ask you to forgive me for what I’ve done, and I appreciate very deeply the many text messages, phone calls that have come to me. I’ve not been able to talk in-depth about this … but I appreciate the prayers of the saints. I appreciate the support of the ministry as we continue to move forward. And I’m just grateful for the outpouring of love I’ve seen as a result of this. … We’ll get through this. I’ll get through this. Keep us lifted up. Keep us in your prayers.”
Documents cited by the U.S. Department of Justice show that for tax years 2009 through 2013 and 2015 through 2017, Jacobs failed to file timely U.S. individual income tax returns, Form 1040s, even after he received correspondence from the IRS in some of those years about the need to file and pay taxes.
He filed a return for 2014, claiming he only earned $66,370. But an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service suggests that he had $387,456.35 in income, according to a court document cited by The Charlotte Observer.
On April 22, 2020, Jacobs filed a fraudulent PPP loan application on behalf of Quest Church. He claimed the church paid five employees more than $135,500, but the church did not report any wages to the IRS for the corresponding calendar year and did not pay any withholding taxes.
Jacobs was released on bond following his court appearance last Tuesday and will be sentenced at a later date.
Filing a false tax return carries a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.