Former Fresno pastor accused of scamming government

A former Fresno pastor has pleaded not guilty to charges of theft of government property and Social Security fraud.
March 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Fresno pastor is accused of scamming the government of more than $100,000. Alvin Dickson, 52, appeared in court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to charges of theft of government property and Social Security fraud.

"When people are scamming the system and taking money that they are not entitled to, it hurts all of us," said prosecutor Mark McKeon.

A federal indictment shows the now 52-year-old pastor who has since moved to Oakland knowingly embezzled and stole more than $113,000 over an eight-year period.

The grand jury report also details how starting in July 2005 until April 2013, Dickson claimed Social Security disability insurance benefits while still preaching at the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.

"According to the indictment, he was receiving disability benefits when he shouldn't have been receiving those benefits because he was working as the pastor of a church," added McKeon.

Dickson is now facing two charges of Social Security fraud and theft of government property. Prosecutors told Action News that the money he's accused of ripping off was taken away from so many others who really needed the financial help.

Action News reached out to Dickson's attorney for comment, but no one returned our call.

If found guilty, Dickson could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.


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