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ARKANSAS: Pentecostal Pastor pleads guilty to fraud, tax evasion charges

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LITTLE ROCK — A Jonesboro pastor has pleaded guilty to defrauding an Oklahoma bank and failure to pay payroll taxes, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

Scott Keith Voss, 43, pastor and president of First Pentecostal Church of Jonesboro, faces up to 35 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.25 million, U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said in a release.

In the plea agreement, Voss agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $450,000 to First Bank of Owasso and $148,564 to the Internal Revenue Service.

The federal prosecutor’s office said from September 2007 to June 2010, Voss was involved in a scheme to defraud the bank. He applied for a loan using the church’s Jonesboro Worship Center as collateral, even though he never obtained authorization from the church’s board of directors, prosecutors said.

Voss then used the funds for his own personal use, to retire previous loans unauthorized by the board of directors and to obtain additional funds for expenditures not approved by the board, according to Thyer.

Also, from 2006 to 2010, First Pentecostal Church of Jonesboro withheld tax payments from its employees’ pay checks, but during the same period failed to make any payments to the IRS for the withholdings, Thyer said.

He said Voss was responsible for collection and payment of the church’s payroll taxes.