VACAVILLE (CBS13) — A Vacaville pastor accused of firebombing an ex-girlfriend’s home is back in jail, accused of identity theft of a church he used as collateral.
Investigators say Pastor Mark Lewis used his church as collateral to get out of jail, but on closer inspection, they found the information on the church paperwork wasn’t his to give.
Most churches are either a nonprofit or a corporation, but Vacaville Police say the Fellowship Baptist Church was neither.
“The information obtained on the loan was based upon a church in Southern California,” said Lt. John Carly.
Lewis is beginning to know Vacaville Police, as well as his own parishioners. He was arrested earlier this month on a charge of arson involving an ex-girlfriend who had a restraining order against him.
Investigators say he and three suspects were arrested after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a home with six people inside.
Now police say the church he used as collateral to bail himself out has him in more trouble.
“It’s based on a loan application using the identity of other churches,” Carly said.
The Solano County District Attorney’s office started questioning if Lewis could use the church property as collateral, and during the investigation, they discovered the loan on the property was fraudulent.
Now law enforcement is trying to figure out who this property even belongs to, because they say the loan documents don’t belong to Lewis or the Fellowship Baptist Church.
“We don’t know what it is,” Carly said. “And that’s the main issue, because it was put up as bail.”
A man who says he’s a family friend of Lewis’ opened the door to his home on Saturday. He said he couldn’t answer our questions, but said services would continue and he believed Lewis would be found innocent.
“He has such an open heart, and God will prevail,” the man said.
Police say identity theft of a church isn’t something they usually see.
“It seems to be pretty rare, especially when you’re looking at a church,” Carly said.
Police say there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and the D.A.’s office will have to go through a lot of financial records, which will take time.