ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Two members of a secretive church in North Carolina pleaded guilty Friday to wire fraud related to an unemployment benefits scheme that former congregants say was part of a plan to keep money flowing into the church.
As part of an investigation into abuse at the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, The Associated Press reported in September that authorities were looking into the unemployment dealings of congregants' businesses.
Dr. Jerry Gross and his son, Jason Lee Gross, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Asheville. Jerry Gross owned the Foot & Ankle Center of the Carolinas in Forest City. His son worked there.
The two made it appear they laid off employees, making them eligible for unemployment benefits. Prosecutors say the workers remained on the job.
Mohr contributed from Jackson, Mississippi.