Rudolph Brooks, Jr., 45, pastor of the Kingdom Tabernacle of Restoration church, has been arrested for allegedly lying to the government and providing false tax returns and payroll information in order to apply for a $1.5 million PPP loan from the federal government. When Congress rolled out the first coronavirus relief package, the Washington DC pastor hustled to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loan.
He is accused of using the funds to buy 39 used automobiles, including a 2018 Tesla Model 3, a 2017 Mercedes Benz S Class, and a 2005 Bentley Continental, to add to his fleet of vehicles rather than utilizing them for payroll costs and to keep his church operational, as the funds were intended to be used.
Brooks is suspected of trying to fraudulently secure two other PPP loans totaling $1.8 million and $200,000 in addition to being discovered fabricating documentation for the $1.5 million PPP loan.
Brooks’ church fortunately has no connection to the alleged fraud.
The FBI seized money from eleven separate bank accounts totaling $2.2 million when Brooks was detained. Additionally, they removed the Tesla that he allegedly bought with the funds from the PPP loan he received from the government.
Brooks filed for government financing through his used car lot, Cars Direct, rather than through his church. On May 9, he submitted an application for his first PPP loan and used phony dealership documentation to boost his eligibility for a larger loan amount. False documents claimed that he had given his employees at the car business $724,469 in payments and a total of $7,471,630 in unemployment benefits. However, the numbers were much different than that in reality.
The IRS never received any tax filings for Cars Direct. Further research also revealed that the Maryland Department of Labor has no record of Brooks’s used car dealership ever paying workers or of Brooks getting compensation from the company, according to the FBI.
The money was sent into Brooks’s solely owned bank account when the PPP loan was authorized. According to the federal complaint, Brooks formed an account with the name Payroll by BJM, which he utilized to transfer loan funds totaling $500,000.
His church’s website has been taken off the internet since his incarceration; although Brooks is described as “a man after God’s own” with a “passion for God’s people” on an older version of the website.
“From an early age, Pastor Brooks knew he had a calling for ministry. People would receive their deliverance before the altar call because the Word of the Lord was so rich in his belly,” the site said.
According to his profile on the cached website, he formerly held the post of assistant pastor at another church where he oversaw their financial operations. If he is convicted of the charge, Brooks could spend up to twenty years in federal prison.