A Florida pastor and his son could face up to 30 years in prison if they are found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to the Orlando Division of the Middle District of Florida, 64-year-old Evan Edwards and his 30-year-old son Josh were arrested on charges that they fraudulently obtained $8.4 million in Covid relief funds.
Josh applied for the loan back in 2020, claiming his non-profit and religious organization Aslan International Ministry has close to 500 employees and is receiving a total of $ 2.7 million per month.
But Aslan has non-existent employees.
Edwards and Josh reportedly fabricated IRS forms to show that Aslan had annual revenues of almost $52 million in 2019 and $48 million in 2018.
The father and son are also facing visa fraud charges for allegedly declaring that the gross income of Aslan is $1.3 million when the actual amount is lower.
Edwards is married to a Filipina named Mary Jane.
Several Fil-Am church leaders in Florida stress the need for churches and nonprofit organizations to have honest and transparent transactions in their organizations.
“If there were really a church, pastors should not be doing that in the first place. And you know the consequence won’t come up right away. That is why dumating eto. Wala na silang magagawa. Hindi na nila ma-deny yun,” Ryan Senas of Life in Christ Community Church said.
(That is why this happened. They can no longer do anything about it. They won’t be able to deny it.)
ABS-CBN tried to get the side of Evan and Josh Edwards and they have yet to respond.