A Sanford pastor was arrested and is now facing fraud, theft and exploitation of the elderly charges. Investigators said the church leader took thousands of dollars from an elderly woman, who is also a relative.
“It almost made me sick. I couldn’t believe it, that my second cousin would do something like that to me,” said Inez Smith.
With health problems getting worse, Smith appointed her second cousin, Anthony Miller, as her power of attorney in 2000. Miller had control over all of her assets. Miller is the pastor of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Sanford.
“I guess he figured I wouldn’t know what he did to me, because I went to the bank to get money to pay my bills and the lady in accounting said you don’t have any money,” said Smith.
Smith told investigators back in 2012 she wanted to move out of an assisted living facility and into her Sanford home. However she soon discovered that Miller took her name off the deed to the property.
“I just stood in the middle of the floor and cried, I was shocked,” said Smith.
Investigators with the Seminole County Financial Crimes Task Force said Miller rented out Smith’s home without her permission, and never gave her rent money from the property.
Investigators said from 2008 to 2012, Miller drained Smith’s retirement account by making nearly $40,000 of withdrawals. Investigators said Miller deposited the money into his own account for his own use.
When we reached Reverend Miller by phone Wednesday, Miller said he did not want to comment.
Miller is out of jail on $5,000 bond after he was arrested Tuesday.
The 83-year-old Smith worries there could be other victims.
“So if he did me like that, he could do somebody else like that,” said Smith.
The State Attorney’s Office said they don’t know of any other victims in this case, but if anyone feels they might be a victim of fraud they encourage them to come forward.