Criminal JusticeFederalIssuesJudicialTaxes & SpendingDefendants Pretended to Be Pastors, Used ‘Defunct’ Church to Steal Federal Funds During Pandemic

Prosecutors say one of the accused swindlers called bank employees “minions of Satan” when they did not comply with his demands.
December 14, 2022
Three defendants in the Houston area are facing decades in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

The DOJ stated in a news release last week that Bryan residents Bill Lucas, 60, and Deborah Lucas, 64, claimed to be pastors of a church called Jesus Survives Ministries, which has not existed for almost 10 years. Another defendant, 45-year-old Brian Corpian of Houston, also claimed to be on staff at the “church.”

Prosecutors say the Lucases had been receiving bogus car loans using Jesus Survives Ministries since as early as 2014. After Congress passed the CARES Act amid the pandemic, the accused claimed the ministry’s income in 2019 was nearly $1 million to fraudulently secure loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

According to the DOJ, Bill Lucas lashed out at bank employees when they did not pay the loans as fast as he wanted.

Lucas wrote, “I curse you, your bank and you[r] whole family.”

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The convict also allegedly called them “minions of Satan” and sent a bank employee a picture of the employee’s family.

“You extremists think I am playing with you. You started a war and I guarantee you that you[‘re] not walking away unscathed,” Lucas wrote.

The federal government stated that the Lucases and Corpian were able to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Lucases went on vacation to South Carolina immediately after fraudulently securing the funds.

All three face prison sentences of up to 30 years for the fraud, in addition to possible fines of up to $1 million apiece. The DOJ noted that their sentencing hearings are scheduled for May 2023 and they will be free on bond until then.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."