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Fake Minister Performs Identity Theft on Wedding Party

If a high-profile pastor officiating a wedding upstages the bride and groom, people might refer to that as “stealing the show.” One officiant stole much more than that.

Police in nearby Yarmuth say that James Stern not only impersonated a justice of the peace, but in the process, stole credit card information from two of the bridesmaids.

Ashley Veilleux and David Mellen say they hired Stern after his business was given good reviews on several wedding websites, but realized after the fact that their marriage wasn’t official because he wasn’t registered with the state and hadn’t presented a marriage license to city hall.

Two weeks after the wedding, two of the bridesmaids reported irregular, unauthorized charges on their credit cards for purchases totaling thousands of dollars. When police began to investigate Stern, they found a lengthy criminal history in neighboring states, and at least one active warrant for arrest. Just days before their wedding, Stern had been arrested for another set of fraud-related charges in Rhode Island.

In response, the bridge and groom scheduled another wedding ceremony with a small guest list at a local restaurant. “I feel like we have turned a negative situation into a positive one,” Veilleux said. “This man is forever in our photos and videos, we can’t change that, but we can share [our mistake] with others, and that’s been making a difference.”

Potential Preaching Angles:

Just because someone says the right things doesn’t mean they are God’s anointed. Credentials are helpful, but ministers of God should be known mostly by the evidence they leave behind, whether community, discipleship and righteousness, or destruction, mayhem and heartache.


David Moye, “Man Poses as Minister to Steal Bridesmaids’ Credit Card Info: Police,” The Huffington Post (10-26-18)

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