Last month, federal investigators filed wire fraud charges against Rudolph Brooks, Jr. They also took away his Tesla Model 3. They also took back $2.2 million that Brooks had placed in different bank accounts.
Brooks allegedly obtained all this money by defrauding the government via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
He used to own a business in Maryland called Cars Direct (which brought and sold cars) which went defunct in 2012… and then it magically came back to life in May of 2020.
The affidavit alleges that, on May 9, 2020, Brooks applied for a PPP loan on behalf of Cars Direct in the amount of $1,556,589. In support of the Cars Direct PPP loan application, Brooks allegedly submitted fraudulent tax forms which allegedly reported $724,469 in payments via Forms 1099-MISC and $7,471,630 in total unemployment payments to employees from Cars Direct. However, as detailed in the affidavit, IRS records do not reflect any tax filings made by Cars Direct for any tax period, indicating that Cars Direct has not hired employees or paid unemployment taxes. Additionally, the Maryland Department of Labor has no record of Cars Direct paying wages or of Brooks receiving wages.
Beginning May 22, 2020, Brooks used PPP loan funds from the Cars Direct account and his own personal account to purchase of 39 used automobiles… Under the terms of the PPP loan program, the purchase of these vehicles is not an appropriate use of loan funds.
In addition, seizure warrants authorized the seizure of up to $2,296,136.86 from eleven bank accounts and the 2018 Tesla Model 3 described above. The affidavit in support of the seizure warrants alleges that these funds and vehicle constitute or are derived from the proceeds traceable to false statements made on bank loan applications.
Shady stuff. Brooks now faces up to 20 years in prison.
That’s going to be very awkward for his church…
According to the Daily Beast, Brooks is the founder and senior pastor of Kingdom Tabernacle of Restoration Ministries, Inc., which still has this bio on its website:
Pastor Brooks desires to see believers grow spiritually and desires to see the church function according to the word of the Lord. His intense love for the Lord, relentless spirit and ability to tap into the very heart of God make him a memorable speaker. With his love for God and lively preaching style, which can hold even the skeptics attention, Pastor Brooks speaks and shares the heart of God with compassion and conviction.
So much for “Thou shalt not steal.”
So far, there’s no indication from the church’s social media that any of this even happened. As recently as this week, Brooks was preaching… though that will likely change if and when he’s convicted.
Maybe the best response comes from the all-things-Tesla website Teslarati, which said this:
While accelerating the transition to sustainable energy is undoubtedly the main interest of Tesla, buying an all-electric car through a fraudulent manner of actions is not ideal for helping the environment.
It’s the hot take we all needed.
(Image via Facebook)