Former South Georgia pastor, tax preparer sentenced to federal prison for COVID-19 relief fraud

The FBI investigated the case. Knight was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonanthan A. Porter and E. Greg Gilluly Jr.

Getty Images News Staff

Wed, September 21, 2022 at 5:08 PM·2 min read

A three-time felon who hid behind legitimate businesses such as a mortician, restaurateur, tax preparer and even a pastor was sentenced to 29 months in prison.

Action News Jax broke the news in October of 2021 that 45-year-old Mack Devon Knight of Kingsland had been accused of applying for CARES Act funds and using a portion of the money to buy a Mercedes.

The United States Department of Justice said in a statement that Knight admitted lying to receive COVID-19 small-business assistance.

Knight will also have three years of supervised release and must pay $149,000 in restitution for previously pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud.

“When Congress provided more than $6.5 billion through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security Act to help small businesses struggling financially during the pandemic, fraudsters like Mack Knight came out of the woodwork,” said U.S. Attorney David Estes. “With our law enforcement partners, we are identifying and holding accountable these scam artists attempting to steal taxpayer funds.”

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As a result of frequently filing for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Businesses Administration on behalf of multiple Camden County, Georgia businesses, Knight received $149,000. He used a large portion of the funds to buy a Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan. As part of his plea deal, he is forfeiting the car to the U.S. government.

Knight has at least three prior felony convictions for other acts of fraud.

“So many businesses needed federal emergency assistance to stay afloat during the pandemic, and this defendant misdirected hundreds of thousands of dollars of that money to his own pockets,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Mack Knight’s actions affected every taxpaying citizen, in particular those who needed help the most. The FBI will continue to make every effort to ensure federal funds are used as intended.”

The FBI investigated the case. Knight was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonanthan A. Porter and E. Greg Gilluly Jr.

To report a COVID-19-related fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling the NCDF Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at:


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