A pastor has been accused of forging deed documents of a church in Bridgeport, Connecticut and selling it to himself for $1.
Bishop Franklin L. Fountain, the pastor of Fountain of Youth Cathedral on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport, has been charged with charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery after he allegedly forged deed documents of the church founded by his father in 1960.
The pastor was accused of selling the Madison Avenue church, valued at $1.5 million, to himself for $1.
"Isn't this all ridiculous," the 55-year-old pastor said on Wednesday, according to CT post. "I am the pastor and I deserve respect and I expect that this will all be worked out," he added.
Police Detective Francis Podpolucha said that the complaint against Fountain was filed by the church's Board of Directors, namely Fountain's younger brother James Fountain and his uncle Donald Fountain.
The complaint alleged that the pastor altered the deed documents of the church at 324 Madison Ave. without authorization and sold the property to himself.
Fountain, who was released on a promise to appear in court, is facing more than 20 years if he is convicted of the charges.
According to the church's website, Fountain has been in the ministry since he was 16 and served many years under his father's leadership.
Between 2011 and 2016, Fountain had served as the District Bishop and a member of the General Board of Bishops at the Florida State Diocese of the International Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ.
He was expected to be affirmed to the sacred ascension of Apostle in the Lord's church, in the 8th Holy Convocation of Resurrection Ministries International, Inc., on July 15, according to the church. It is unclear how the current allegations against the pastor will affect that honor.
"Bishop Franklin L. Fountain has achieved many academic scholastic honors, but the greatest of them all was when he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Bishop has also served our country in the United States Air Force. He has Pastored many and established churches and missions within the United States as well as overseeing foreign ministries, bible schools and conducted revival crusades," the church said about the accused pastor.
The website indicated that his father, Bishop Franklin D. Fountain, handed over the leadership of the church to his other son, Elder Christopher D. Fountain, on November 13, 2004, due to terminal illness. The accused pastor took over the ministry some nine years later, after Christopher passed the baton of leadership to him in November 2013.