Maryland prosperity preaching Pastor Rudolph E. Brooks Jr. has been arrested after fraudulently applying for $1.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and using the money to buy 39 cars (including a Tesla, Bentley and Mercedes), put a down payment on a house and cover other personal expenses.
Brooks, 45, has been charged with wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized $2.2 million from his bank accounts as well as the 2018 Tesla Model 3 he purchased with the funds.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Brooks applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) on April 7, 2020 for a business he owned called Cars Direct by Gavawn. He also applied for a PPP loan on May 9, 2020.
Though Cars Direct was incorporated in Maryland on October 29, 2010, it was forfeited Oct. 1, 2012 and reinstated on My 28, 2020. HE also applied for funding for two of his other companies including his Washington D.C. based church, Kingdom Tabernacle of Restoration Inc., and Madaro Celtic Bank.
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Brooks is accused of falsifying financial, tax and payroll records to acquire the funds. In the documents he submitted, he allegedly reported $724,469 in payments through 1099-MISC forms and $7,471,630 in employee compensation payments for Cars Direct. However, the IRS said it has no such records per the affidavit.
Brooks was approved for loans in the amounts of $1,556,489 for Cars Direct, which he transferred to various bank accounts in his name, according to the criminal complaint.
After news of Brooks’ arrest went viral, the church’s website and Facebook pages were taken down. Meaww reports while the website was live it stated Brooks’ “intense love for the Lord, relentless spirit and ability to tap into the very heart of God make him a memorable speaker” who could even make skeptics believers.