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Saturday, June 30, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor Charged with Fraud

Lycoming County, PA -- Federal investigators are cracking-down on a bankrupt CEO who is also a pastor. He's charged with defrauding investors of more than a half million dollars.

Investigators said the fraud case started about six years ago when Pastor Jerry Frear, Jr. set up an investment company and told people he would double their money. Not long after they bought in, Frear went bankrupt leaving those investors high and dry.

The federal grand jury indictment details the fraud and conspiracy case against Frear, who is known not only as a pastor, but to some, a financial genius. He is now charged with defrauding them out of more than $500,000.

Court papers detail a mail and wire fraud case that includes conspiracy charges spanning the United States, Canada, even China.

The grand jury alleges that Frear took more than $607,000 from investors, promising he could double their investment.

Court papers reveal that when Frear's business went down the tubes he never told his accountant and never told his investors, continuing instead to solicit money from them.

Federal documents show he even invested their cash after filing for bankruptcy.

No one was in Frear's last-known office space Friday and no one answered the door at his Loyalsock Township home. A woman who answered the home phone offered no comment.

Several of the victims involved in the case said their relationship with Jerry Frear, Jr. was like a bad marriage. They are now trying to put it behind them. Many hope he gets jail time.

Court documents show that Frear pleaded not guilty to the felony charges. His attorney said Friday that his client is also a church pastor and has been for years. Formerly at a church in the Muncy area, Frear is now a pastor for a congregation in Tioga County.