RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Jane Whaley, pastor of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, through her lawyer Noell Tin has denied any role in the unemployment fraud scheme currently under federal investigation. Current charges filed against some business owners are based on church members laid off who continued working and collected unemployment benefits.
“Ms. Whaley strongly denies any insinuation that she was somehow involved in Mr. Covington’s offense, as does Mr. Covington.” Noell P. Tin
On Thursday, Whaley was named in a Kent Covington defense document that outlined the fraud conspiracy.
Covington’s defense lawyer, Stephen Cash, expects Covington to plead guilty next week. Covington had originally pled not guilty.
“After working with the Government for nearly a year to understand exactly what happened 10 years prior, we recognized that false statements were made to the NC ESC that Kent Covington was responsible for, and that Kent and his businesses benefited from those acts. Those statements extended beyond those related to his own unemployment, and included statements related to hours worked by employees for companies owned by Kent. He accepts responsibility for his actions and continues to cooperate fully with the Government.”
Regarding Jane Whaley, the Government may contend that she played some role in the conspiracy. Kent Covington denies that he has any knowledge that Whaley was involved, or that he was ever instructed by Whaley or consulted with Whaley in relation to his involvement with claims made to the NC ESC.” Stephen L. Cash
The unemployment allegations were uncovered as part of the AP’s ongoing investigation into Word of Faith.