FOX 8 Investigates: Two arrested at Life Impact Center - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

FOX 8 Investigates: Two arrested at Life Impact Center

Mandeville, La. -

The St. Tammany Sheriff's Office has arrested two women and booked them with theft for allegedly pocketing money intended to help people pay their mortgages.  The arrests come nine months after a FOX 8 investigation.

At least two people say they lost their homes after giving money to the Life Impact Center, which offered mortgage assistance as part of its outreach.

Now, two Life Impact counselors are under arrest and the sheriff's office says there may be more victims.

For six years, Shay Davis called a house on L street in Covington home.  "I loved my home, first I ever bought.  It makes me sad that it's gone," she said.

As we reported back in February, she went to the Life Impact Center in Mandeville for help in getting a break on her mortgage, but the break never came.

Davis paid $6,000 to Life Impact counselors, but authorities say the money never made it to the mortgage company.

"We determined that two individuals doing work, they were also demanding payments which they claimed were good faith payments.  They were never sending that money off, they kept it for themselves," said Capt. George Bonnett of the STPSO.

Deputies, with the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, arrested Angela Lyle and Shawn Singleton, mortgage counselors at Life Impact.  They've been charged with theft of over $1500.

Authorities say there may have been dozens of victims.  "Over 20 months you're talking about revenue of over $150,000 to the organization and 90 percent of that was paid as salaries," said Bonnett.

St. Tammany investigators say there's no reason at this time to believe that loan assistance fees generated by the Life Impact Center were going to Life Impact Church, but their investigation continues.

For his part, Life Church pastor Paul Smith issued a statement, saying he's been meeting with investigators from HUD and the sheriff's office.  Smith says, "They continue to have my full cooperation into whatever matters they are seeking. I was told by the investigators that I was not to discuss this pending investigation and so I will continue to honor their request.'

Shay Davis had lost hope that anyone would be punished for what happened to her. She said, "If you guys hadn't done the story, and the St Tammany Sheriff's didn't look into it, they'd still be doing what they were doing."

Davis has now moved on to another town in Louisiana, hopeful that a court may restore her money and that others may learn from what happened to her.

Pastor Smith went on to say that Life Impact helped hundreds of families, saying, "Life Impact is, and always was, a non-profit entity which was completely separate from Life Church."

The organization no longer offers mortgage counseling.

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