Minister at secretive North Carolina church is sentenced to 34 months prison for running unemployment fraud scheme dubbed ‘God’s plan’
April 21, 2019
- Word of Faith Fellowship minister Kent Covington has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme
- Covington pretended to lay off workers at his businesses and had them collect unemployment benefits to replace paying actual salaries
- Prosecutors say many of Covington’s employees were Word of Faith Fellowship members and he used his position in the church to force them to comply
- The scheme resulted in more than $250,000 in fraudulent claims being made between November 2008 and March 2013
A minister at the secretive Word of Faith Fellowship in North Carolina has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that was dubbed ‘God’s plan’.
In 2008, Kent Covington laid off workers at his struggling manufacturing business so that they could collect unemployment benefits.
However, the employees continued to work at the company and their unemployment checks replaced their actual salaries.
At Covington’s sentencing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger said that the minister had shown a ‘cynical disregard to the law’ and that his actions ‘undermined the entire unemployment security structure of the state’.
Around 150 of his friends, family and members of his church attended his sentencing, according to WLOS.
Prosecutors say Covington and his employee, Dianne McKinny, later put the scheme into place at another of his companies – a stone fabrication business by the name of Integrity Marble & Granite.
It resulted in more than $250,000 in fraudulent claims made between November 2008 and March 2013, according to the original indictment in the case.
Word of Faith Fellowship leader, Jane Whaley, was named in a court document as someone who ‘promoted’ the scheme.
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