Rutherford County, North Carolina -- When two Word of Faith Fellowship ministers plead guilty to wire fraud in federal court on Friday, a US Attorney told the judge, their charges were part of a larger investigation.
Jerry and his son Jason Gross both pled guilty to the wire fraud charge, admitting they filed unemployment benefits with North Carolina for themselves and their employees at the Foot and Ankle Center of the Carolinas in Forest City from 2009 to 2013.
7News spoke with a former employee of the Foot and Ankle Center, who asked to remain anonymous. That woman worked with the center for 11 years and is a former Word of Faith Fellowship member.
The woman tells 7News that when business got slow, there were 6 months where she worked, but didn't get paid. The job chosen for her by ministers at the church. She claims that Jason Gross had her sign documents and she received unemployment benefits for 3 years, but worked more than the allotted amount of hours for unemployment by the Government.
The woman says she spoke with federal and state investigators about this more than a year ago and is happy to see charges finally being brought. The former WOFF member says the unemployment benefits scheme was to support the church, even though the Gross' attorneys claim there is no connection.
The woman claims more businesses connected to Word of Faith Fellowship are part of this ongoing investigation that the US Attorney referenced.
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