Visalia pastors facing more than 15 years in prison

January 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The attorney representing two Visalia pastors says Bobby and Lynette Adamson have also lost everything behind bad investments.

The husband and wife were arrested Friday after court records show they took hundreds of thousands of dollars from church members for ventures which didn't work out.

The Adamson's are facing more than 15 years in prison if they are convicted on these charges. Law enforcement officers have collected 20,000 pages in evidence during their investigation. The couple is accused of taking money under false pretenses and using their power as pastors to obtain the funds.

The investments made by some church members who attended services are still haunting them, years later.

The couple accused of taking more than $500K from parishioners at The Sound of His Voice Christian Fellowship in Visalia, is facing 13 felony charges.

"To get the call from the da investigator to let them know essentially it's not over, it's devastating," Roger Wilson said. "They've lost everything and now they are having to deal with a very serious criminal complaint."

The couple has already filed bankruptcy, and according to their attorney, Roger Wilson, is living a nightmare.

"They are distraught," Wilson said. "They have felt bad about this whole situation for years."

But members of their congregation, like Teri Markarian say the $100K line of credit she took out on her home, ruined her life. Markarian says she respected the couple and felt Bobby was a great spiritual leader who delivered meaningful messages.

"He really touched on things that were relevant. Everytime he preached, it really hit home with me," Markarian said. "It was something I needed to hear."

Now Markarian lost the only security she had months after her husband died of kidney cancer, her home.

Others told Action News they took out their life savings, and children's college funds when the Adamsons gave them a promising investment opportunity.

Court records show the couple collected over a half-million-dollars to rescue a distressed commercial property in Bakersfield. Wilson alleges the deal turned out to be a total loss for everyone involved.

Bobby and Jo Jo declined to comment, but their attorney insists they had good intentions when they made a business decision.

"They have remained friends with many of these individuals," Wilson said. "They tried to sell everything they had, meaning the Adamsons to replace the money that was lost by these individuals. They are currently paying back some of them through the bankruptcy settlement and so they feel horrible."

After the Adamson's filed for bankruptcy in 2011, they moved to Texas to start over. But, they returned to the South Valley recently to deal with this criminal case. Their attorney says they are staying with friends and no longer own any property.

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